Signage & Wayfinding Systems

The overall experience one has in a space encompasses various influential aspects such as function, lighting, scale, and finishes – but flow is what truly dictates what the users will see, how they will get from “Point A” to “Point B,” how long it will take them to get there and back, and what interactions they may encounter along the way.

Navigation of a facility has a direct impact on one’s overall experience in a space. Recognizing this, CRGA ensures that wayfinding systems are implemented with the intricacy and planning that is necessary to promote an efficient, productive, and supportive environment for the end users.   

Comprehensive wayfinding signage systems are crucial factors in preventing additional frustration often brought forth by getting lost or feeling overwhelmed within spaces. When thoughtfully planned, wayfinding systems empower users to have the confidence to navigate facilities, find specific destinations, and return to their original entry points to exit facilities without difficulty.

These systems should be designed for flexibility and consistency and incorporate exterior vehicular, exterior pedestrian and interior pedestrian components. Color scheme, wall and ceiling signage, floor graphics, printed maps or direction indicators, and exterior signage visible from street-level at major entrances all contribute to operational efficiency as well as vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Dave St. Rose, CRGA’s in-house environmental graphic designer, has accrued years of experience designing signage and wayfinding systems.

“CRGA designs wayfinding systems that are intended for various audiences that utilize spaces simultaneously but for different purposes – this includes first-time or repeat visitors, patients/residents, and staff,” Dave explains. “These systems should mitigate the stress level of users by providing necessary guidance while refraining from overcomplication that could lead to information overload. They should also be beneficial to the staff by enhancing the organization of the facility and efficiency of workflow.”

In the healthcare industry, the overall experience patients and visitors have includes countless components beyond just the direct care received from medical professionals. The majority of patients and visitors are experiencing some of their most trying times in these spaces, so it is vital that as much stress and confusion as possible be eliminated from these already difficult experiences. Wayfinding systems should be clear but concise so that in times of pain, panic, or stress, one can still find the appropriate destination in a timely manner.  

Similarly, wayfinding systems in senior living facilities have changed drastically in recent years. No longer are the systems being designed with a clinical approach – rather, they are often personalized to the surrounding community so that the residents feel welcome and comfortable following the transition from living independently to assisted living. Incorporating familiar pictures and icons benefits individuals who suffer from dementia by serving the dual purpose of making the experience more recognizable and helping them get to and from the destination despite limited cognitive abilities.

“Today’s senior living facilities are being designed to promote active lifestyles,” explains Lee Driskill, AIA, principal at CRGA. “They encourage residents to participate in the community and engage them with diverse in-house programming, so the wayfinding systems in place must be designed to complement those goals.”

Effective wayfinding systems serve as a vital supporting element of a space. With careful planning and execution, these systems benefit the users throughout the lifespan of the facility by enabling efficient, purposeful movement throughout the space.

 
 
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Contributors:

 
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Dave St. Rose
Environmental Graphic Designer

Dave received his Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from McDaniel College in Maryland.

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Lee Driskill, AIA, NCARB
Principal

Lee received a Masters degree in architecture from the University of Maryland.