If you’re a sports enthusiast, then you know that the referee or umpire can strongly influence the outcome of the event, as well as the experience of those involved. Truth be told, if at the end of the competition you haven’t berated or even really taken notice of the officiating, then they’ve probably done their job well.
Effective wayfinding signage should function in the same way by executing its designed purpose flawlessly in service to the overall goal.
The term wayfinding was coined more than 50 years ago to describe the idea of environmental legibility (to steal an architect’s term), referring to those elements of a manmade environment that help you navigate through a complex space, such as a university campus. Universities of any size have established and detailed plans for their campus signage systems. Beyond the first priority of personal safety, those designing such plans study traffic patterns and the needs of the traveler, such as their originating location and potential destinations. Designers must have an understanding of human behavior and how we process information. They have to contend with flaws in that environment and a million other variables, both seen and unseen. And like the referee who blows the call or draws attention to himself due to incompetence, signage that doesn’t get the job done, that may even jeopardize personal safety, deserves whatever negative press it gets.
At Capital Streetscapes, we can provide a great selection of effective decorative street signs, custom traffic signs and other signage components that will bring your wayfinding plans to life. If yours is a small project with limited funds, we can direct you to the relevant standards and regulations to insure your project is done right (check out our Resources page).
And just like we’d tell that striped shirt directing activities on the field: make the right call, and get it right the first time!