According to leading Vancouver environmental graphic designer Graham Walker, the term “wayfinding” is just beginning to make a real impact on the professions of architecture and graphic design, however the concepts have been around for a long time. Wayfinding is how we navigate and orient ourselves in an environment. To understand wayfinding is really to understand how we use the information that the environment provides.
People receive and assimilate three types of environmental information—architectural, graphic, and verbal. Wayfinding involves the ‘strategies’ that people use to find their way in unfamiliar or new settings, based on their perceptual and cognitive abilities and habits.
These strategies are represented by three interdependent processes:
- A decision making process that leads to a plan of action—“How am I going to get to my destination?”
- A decision executing process that converts the plan into action—“I will get to my destination.”
- An information processing process involving environmental perceptions that cognition that permits the two decision-related processes to occur—“I’m going to get to my destination this way.”
The logistics of the wayfinding system are built up around five components:
- Destination Zones
- Decision Points
- Reference Points
Design applications vary dramatically from place to place. Each environment type presents its own problems, but there are general rules that apply more or less universally. Things to consider include audience, function, and character.
Wayfinding, or directional signage, is especially necessary for large multi-level office buildings or big open spaces like parks and shopping centers. We would be happy to help you implement wayfinding signage throughout your business or even update and modernize current signs, whether it’s ADA or simple directional signage, indoor or outdoor. Your image is our priority.
The content of this post is courtesy of Sign and Digital Graphics. Click here to read the whole article and learn more about “wayfinding.”