Mapping and wayfinding signage may seem like a small detail in the big picture of commercial property development, however, it is an absolutely vital detail to get right.
Mapping and wayfinding signage is key to positive visitor experience.
Overlooking the importance of good signage is a potential pitfall for any commercial property developer. After all, poor directional signage can have a very negative effect on user experience, which, in turn, greatly impacts the popularity and reputation of the development. And in turn, this vastly decreases profitability.
Here are three reasons why it is important to get your mapping and wayfinding signage exactly right:
1. Provide a Flawless Visitor Experience
The goal of mapping and wayfinding signage is to provide a person with the information they need to be able to move purposefully through a space with both little cognitive and physical effort. A good system would not expect a visitor to need to calculate too much. This means providing just enough information for them to find what they need, without adding complication and potential confusion.
Take a transportation hub as an example. These are places where visitors arrive with important journeys to make on a strict time schedule. They are also busy environments. So, for these reasons, they are places that have the potential to be high-stress spaces. It is vital that the wayfinding signage works flawlessly in these environments so that travelers can get to where they need to be on time.
This is why mapping information must be clear and concise to avoid frustration and to build user confidence in a potentially stressful environment.
In spaces that attract visitors during their leisure time, such as malls, good mapping and signage should not be overlooked either. In these places, visitors need to be provided with the information they need to use the space confidently. They expect a pleasurable experience that is free from frustration. Mall mapping signage should lead them to not only the spaces they need but also highlight the places that will maximize their enjoyment of the overall space.
In all commercial spaces, there is a balance to find just enough information to fully inform the user, but not so much that it overwhelms.
2. Build a Brand
Mapping and wayfaring signage is always part of any branding or rebranding strategy that works. Indeed all signage is a key element in branding for commercial spaces. Signs communicate something to all potential users. In this respect, all kinds of signage should draw positive attention to brands, give a clear message, and convey a strong sense of brand identity.
It is of paramount importance that any commercial development gets signage done right. This important visual communication tool must attract visitors into a space in the first instance, and then encourage them to stay. All signs must be clear and coherent. They should use designs, typefaces, and materials that align with the brand and are clearly understood by users.
Additionally, clever mapping and wayfinding signage can do so much for your branding strategy. Maps, in particular, are works of art when beautifully designed, as well as fulfilling their purpose as an information tool. In this respect, they can add so positively to any space and really enhance customer enjoyment.
Focusing on the quality of mapping signage means fully utilizing the power of the image to tell your brand story.
3. Maximize Profitability
The impact of poor visitor experience has a negative effect on profitability. After all, those who do not enjoy a space are likely to leave sooner and thus spend less money, and they will be less likely to return, too. As already explained, getting wayfinding and mapping signage right is key to a positive visitor experience, so it is also key to profitability.
Mapping and wayfinding signage can further benefit profitability, if well-designed. Clever design can help direct more people to areas with previously low foot-fall, as well as encourage them to linger longer in the development overall.
A Wise Investment
While the initial cost of all kinds of signage may seem high, working with an experienced, reputable design agency is a great investment.
Taking advantage of their expertise in this area provides any commercial property developer with the confidence that their mapping and wayfinding signage will positively impact consumer experience and help build an identifiable brand, leading to much greater long-term profits.
Zak Zakaria is a Waymaker at dezigntechnic in Dubai who also previously worked as the company’s Graphic Designer and Art Director. Zak is a creative with work experience in multiple multinational agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. Signage design is a family business, making Zak’s personal experience with signage his longest professional commitment.