When you hear the words “wayfinding signs” or “directional signs,” one of two things probably pop into your mind. The first might be interior wayfinding signs, signs that help people navigate through a building. These can be information kiosks that tell people where they’re headed in a building, or signs that tell them where a particular office is in the building. There are also signs that point people to important building components such as restrooms, staircases, and elevators.
The other type of wayfinding signs you might think of are exterior wayfinding signs. These are the types of signs that help people find a particular location when they’re outdoors. These signs can be designed to help people when they’re driving or walking, and are often held up by signposts or placed on a concrete platform (to protect them from being hit by cars).
Today we’re going to talk about the latter: exterior wayfinding signs. Let’s look at the most common reasons they are used.
Your Building Is Hidden
The first reason that businesses might need a wayfinding sign is because their business is hidden. This isn’t very common with retail, but when it comes to services that don’t see a lot of traffic — specific services that people need and will seek out — it can help people find the business.
A common example is an industrial park or mixed-use warehouses. When each building looks the same, it can be hard to determine where to go next once you pull into the parking lot. If it’s not obvious that there are additional buildings behind the first row, customers might have a hard time finding you without outdoor wayfinding signs. If they’ve driven all the way across town and then can’t find you, they’re not going to be happy.
You Have a Campus
Another common reason that institutions need wayfinding signs is that they have a campus. The most obvious is an actual college campus, which might have a hundred buildings or more. Most college campuses will need dozens of directional signs to help new students, parents, visitors, and contractors locate a specific building. This might also include large multi-sided wayfinding signs on the quad that have huge maps of every building on campus.
Another type of campus that need exterior wayfinding signs are medical campuses. As hospitals are getting bigger and bigger, often encompassing multiple buildings with dozens of entrances. Specialties are often grouped in the same area of the campus, so wayfinding signs can help people make the right turn when they are looking for the emergency room, geriatrics, women’s health, or cardiology buildings.
Your Business Is Upstairs
Here in Fort Collins, we’ve been able to spread out quite a bit. While Old Town is certainly popular, there is still space that’s being filled in across town with strip malls (that are over on Timberline with Serious Texas BBQ comes to mind). What we’re saying is, there’s not a lot of second-story shopping around here because one-story shopping is often available. People honestly seem confused when they have to walk up steps to get to a business!
But they do exist, and are becoming more popular. Front Range Village has some second-story businesses, and the public has to be guided very specifically on how to reach them. Wayfinding signs can help them get to a business that they might otherwise abandon out of frustration.
Your Business Is Unique For the Location
Loveland Laser Tag boasts the largest laser tag arena in Colorado, and that meant that they had to find a big space to use that’s considerably larger than your average strip mall store. We’ve taken our kids there quite a few times and it’s a lot fun…but if you’ve never been there before, it can be tricky to find. In fact, when you make the initial turn, you might wonder if you’re in the right place!
Because they needed such a large space, LLT had to build their laser tag arena in an area that’s much more warehouse-y. They’re surrounded by a commercial bakery, RV repair shop, cleaning service, and a pest removal service. None of those have a lot of traffic going to them, and none of them are kid-friendly. When you pull into this lot of warehouses, it can be difficult to find LLT tucked away in the far corner.
That’s why LLT needs (and has) outdoor wayfinding signs. When you take that first turn and find yourself face to face with a bakery, it’s relieving to see a wayfinding sign that’s showing you where to drop your kid off, while avoiding the traffic from the large bakery trucks. If memory serves, there are three LLT signs guiding you through the roadways in order to get you right to their front door.
You Work For The City
“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign” was a popular lyric in the 1971 song from the Five Man Electrical Band. Nowhere is this more true than in the public sector, where there are thousands of signs telling the public when to stop, how fast to go, and who to yield to. Most of those signs are standard across the country so that everyone can drive safely.
But there are some outdoor wayfinding signs that are very specific to the cities across the Front Range. The most common are signs that tell people where popular tourist destinations are. Examples of such signs are those that include directions to the Historic District, Old Town, the stadiums, or golf courses. People unfamiliar with CSU, such as grandparents in town for graduation, might need a wayfinding sign to find the campus itself (CSU campus signs can take over from there!). If you are in charge of getting high-quality wayfinding signs for Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Berthoud, Longmont, or any other city or town along the Front Range, we can help.
Contact Action Signs!
If you’re in need of exterior wayfinding signs, we’re ready to construct them for you. Whether you need a single sign to let someone know of your hidden business or need a dozen to guide people to the right building on campus, we can make them easy to read and understand. Contact us today to get the project started!