Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet

Wayfinding & Directional Signage


Wayfinding signage is an essential component of wayfinding systems that provide visual clues, including maps, symbols and signs to make navigation easy within a building or space.  Examples can be as simple as a sign with an arrow to color coordinating facility wall colors with signage colors. 

Clear and effective wayfinding signage guides you to your desired destination. It empowers visitors and customers to feel comfortable and enhances their experience since they are able to find what they are looking for without having to ask for assistance.


There are four types of wayfinding signage: directional signage, identification signage, informational signage and regulatory signage.


Within a wayfinding system, directional signage points the way to help people navigate.

Directional sign examples:
  • Restroom sign with an arrow indicating direction of nearest handicapped accessible restroom 
  • Ceiling mounted sign indicating where the lobby, cafeteria and various medical departments are located within a hospital
  • Company directory in a building lobby that lists where business offices are located within the facility
Directional signage tips:
  • Place directional signs at decision points, such as when to turn or continue straight
  • Place directional signs along a path every 20 to 40 feet to let people know they are going the correct way
    • Paths should have a clear beginning, middle and end and the distance between points should be clear
  • Some directional signs must meet ADA visual character requirements as listed in the 2010 U.S. Dept. of Justice Standards for Accessible Design (SAD)
  • Select font style and size so users can quickly read content


Identification signage clearly marks a building or building feature, and lets people know that they have arrived at their desired destination.

Identification sign examples:
  • Office number signs
  • Conference room name signs
  • ADA restroom, entrance, exit and stairs signs
  • Exterior identification signs including outdoor restroom signs and plaques that mark a landmark or point of interest
Identification signage tips:
  • Many wayfinding identification signs fall within the scope of the ADA and should meet requirements as listed in the SAD


Informational signs often contain information that applies to a whole building and, therefore, play an important role within a wayfinding signage system.

Informational sign content examples:
  • Building address 
  • How to contact a person for assistance upon arrival
  • Business hours of operation 
  • Wifi network name and password

Additionally, donor recognition signage or walls fall into the category of informational signage.

Informational signage tips:
  • Information signage is often placed in a lobby, waiting room or entrance, where many people can see it when they first arrive


To ensure safety and policy compliance, regulatory signage is used to tell people what they can and can not do within a building or space.

Regulatory sign examples:
  • No smoking signs or no food or drink signs
  • Employees only signs or do not enter signs
  • Service animals only signage
  • Parking and other traffic regulation signs
  • COVID and social distancing signs that state masking requirements
  • Fire safety signage; FACP, Sprinkler Room, FDC and similar items
  • Demarc and similar signage for utility companies
  • Pipe and valve identification tags
Regulatory signage tips:
  • Some regulatory signs are covered by the ADA and many others are OSHA regulated 



While designing a wayfinding signage system, consider user experience and identify who utilizes a space.  Then take the time to have conversations with people who use a space to fully understand their needs and what is important to them. 

For directional, identification, informational and regulatory signs within your wayfinding signage system implement the following signage design principles.

Signs can be quickly read and understood by using universal symbols and basic language.

Text on signs can be easily read via a clear font. Font size should be based on viewing distance and text color should contrast with background.

Wayfinding systems should address the needs of all users.  In addition to meeting all ADA requirements, consider additional wayfinding from point of entering property to make access easy.

Inside and outside, there must be sufficient lighting for signage to be read. Watch for shadows and consider if additional lights should be added around a sign.


Developing and implementing an effective wayfinding sign system takes expertise and thorough planning. Across your signage package, there are additional best practices and design considerations.

Maps – Provide maps at several spots throughout your signage system to help people understand an entire space. Maps make it easier to understand where you are relative to destinations and make informed decisions about the route to take.

Differentiate – Give areas of a building or space a unique identity to create noticeably separate locations. Something as simple as using a different color for the North, South, West and East wings of a building make areas memorable and easier to navigate.

Landmarks – Along a path use landmarks to provide markers so that people know they are headed in the correct direction.

Branding – Incorporate aesthetic elements including brand colors, fonts and even logos into your wayfinding signage to create a seamless, memorable journey.

Sustainability – In addition to using signs made of eco-friendly materials, consider future building and wayfinding system changes.

To future-proof signs, consider slide-in signs in which a room of office name can be easily changed. Additionally, specifying signs made of standard materials can make it easy to add additional signs on a rolling basis.

ASSESS compliance > DESIGN thoughtfully > MANUFACTURE sustainably > INSTALL skillfully

Green Dot Sign® is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota and partners with brands, AECO project teams and sign companies across the U.S.  Signage experts since 2009 and eco-friendly sign specialists since 2019, we offer standard ADA wayfinding signs for fast delivery and custom interior and exterior signage to provide a sustainable signage solution for every building.

From ADA signage needs evaluation to sign design, fabrication, project management or installation Green Dot Sign® handles any part or all of the signage needs for your next building project.  Message us today for a no obligation sign consultation or fast quote and free samples.

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