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Property Sign Design Considerations
Part 2 – Wayfinding and Directory Signs

Last month, in part 1 of our two-part series on property sign design considerations, we looked at parking lost signs and exterior property signs. This month we’ll discuss the things to consider when planning wayfinding signs, mall and building directories, and industrial park signs.

Wayfinding Property Sign Considerations

Sandbox Signs + Graphics creates an array of signs that help a property’s visitors find offices, restrooms, parking lots, and exits. These types of property signs are known as wayfinding signs. The choice of materials and design are dictated by the sign’s purpose and where it is located.

Building wayfinding signs

For wayfinding signs, simple is often best. Frequently, design elements are kept to a minimum so that the text has emphasis. Wayfinding signs often use high contrast (black lettering on light background for example) so that they are easily read. In wayfinding signage, the placement of the sign is almost as important as the design. Wayfinding sign placement is part art and science. Some knowledge of the building’s pedestrian traffic flow is helpful. Misplacement of just a few feet can dramatically decrease a wayfinding sign’s effectiveness. Because Sandbox Signs has years of experience planning such property signage, we instinctively know wayfinding sign placement hotspots. Our experience coupled with input from property management will ensure wayfinding signage is seen and useful to your building’s visitors.

One vital wayfinding sign is the property’s business directory. Because the business directory is probably the most-used property sign, good design is important. From a design standpoint, the business directory must both fit the style of the building or property and be easily understood.

Mall directories

In malls, directories should judiciously incorporate maps, map keys and symbols so mall customers can quickly orient themselves. Planning map-based directories takes experience and an understanding of how people read them. If you’ve ever had the experience of standing in front of a mall directory seeking a shop or restaurant only to feel frustrated after a moment because of confusing graphics and symbols, too much information or incomplete information, you’ll appreciate the need for careful planning.

Building directories

A directory may be the most important building sign there is. Like mall directories, building directories must both suit the style of the building and clearly communicate to the building’s visitors. Lettering must be easily read and the design must be easily maintained — both for cleaning and changing occupant names. A building’s directory may be placed in a display case near the elevator or on a wall — the choice is largely one of available space and the number of offices in the building. Property managers must also consider the needs of their visitors. For example, if the building directory is for a medical building that serves a large senior population, lettering must be made as visible as possible; font size and contrast becomes a vital part of that legibility.

Industrial Park Property Sign Considerations

If you’ve ever hunted for a business address in an industrial park, you’ll understand just how important industrial park property signage is, both to people visiting and to businesses that rent offices in the complex. Industrial parks are notorious for complex layouts that get visitors lost. The frustration a lost visitor experiences is compounded by the fact that adjacent industrial parks often look the same. Frequently, inattention to vital landmarks like the complex’s main property sign is responsible. A clear, well-planned entrance sign must be large enough to read from a passing vehicle and simple enough that a visitor doesn’t have to exit their vehicle to make sense of it.

Within the industrial park itself, office address directories must also be designed so they are easily seen. Parking for addresses must be clearly marked, and the business suite numbers must be made as visible as possible.

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