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Practical Tips for Effective Directional Signs

Contrary to popular belief, putting up directional signs is more than placing a few arrows and hallway markers around the premises. Smooth navigation throughout the building is a vital part of a visitor’s overall experience with a business. Directional signs welcome visitors, provide them more information about a brand and help them get to their destinations with ease.

Unlike other much bigger signs, directional signs do not provide room for much information; therefore, legibility and relaying the necessary information as concisely as possible are of utmost importance. Directional signage plays a pivotal role, especially for new visitors, and business owners should not treat it as an afterthought. Here are some practical tips that businesses can implement to make the most of their directional signage.

Minimalism Is Key

Ideally, directional signs should be a quick read. Business owners must understand this limitation and use the least number of words to get their messages across. Remember, most people read signs while on the go, and an excessively wordy sign might be difficult to decipher. Using the least amount of words possible makes it easy for readers to understand a sign without double-taking.

Choose the Simplest Designs

The best directional signs incorporate simple design features. Opt for brand-relevant yet minimalist color schemes, large texts and straightforward fonts. Wherever possible, incorporate icons to replace unnecessary wording or supplement existing words.

Use Arrows Conservatively

Although many people treat arrows as the cornerstone of directional signage, overusing or inappropriately incorporating them can quickly become a problem. Arrows and their accompanying words should be unmistakable and easy to understand.

Avoid pointing arrows to additional text or other arrows. Grouping multiple destinations that follow a similar path under one arrow helps reduce the chances of misdirection, unlike pointing multiple arrows at each other.

Brand Incorporation

Business owners should treat each time a passerby sees their directional signs as an opportunity for a new customer to discover their brand. Good practice calls for designing directional signs that align with the company’s brand identity, such as using the brand’s colors, styles, fonts and ensuring they match other signs and marketing materials.

If possible, conveniently include the business name in the sign, e.g., as a header or footer. Adding the company logo might also help if it does not distort the sign’s message.

Design for Accessibility

As a bare minimum, directional signs should comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). According to the act’s guidelines, permanent signs should be fit for use by all people regardless of their ability. Here are some best practices that businesses can incorporate to meet these guidelines:

  • Avoid finishes that cause glare
  • Use easy-to-understand pictograms
  • Place signs in highly visible locations
  • Include braille texts for blind readers
  • Use legible fonts and high-contrast colors

Final Thoughts

Uninformed business owners may underestimate the power, functionality and influence of good directional signs, perhaps due to their relatively small size. Use the tips mentioned above and think outside the box to create helpful yet alluring directional signs.