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What is a wayfinding sign?

With so many styles of signs available and present in everyday life, it is easy to get lost in the lingo. A wayfinding sign is a sign that helps give direction and serves a very practical purpose. These can include maps, signs with arrows and so much more. Wayfinding signs can be used both on the inside and outside of a business or complex.

Last week we posted about the 5 Best Interior Wayfinding Signs for your business. Once a customer has found your location these styles will help them navigate with ease, but what about finding your facility? That is where outdoor wayfinding signs will work for your business. Not only do they help customers find you as a destination for their trip, but they also serve as advertisement and marketing for your business. They can also be customized to reinforce your brand to raise brand awareness.

What signs are considered outdoor wayfinding signs?

Believe it or not, you use them every day. Street signs, directional signs, monument signs, and storefront signs can all be considered way-finding signs. The reality is that any sign style can be used as a wayfinding sign depending on the content. With that in mind, we have compiled the 5 best outdoor wayfinding signs for your business!

Pylon Signs

Pylon signs are very tall signs typically mounted on tall columns or poles. They are often referred to as “pole signs” or “highway signs.” Pylon signs are intended to be seen from far distances and are typically placed near major highways or high-traffic areas. Additionally, they can be used for either a single business or multi-tenant identifiers, these signs are the most visible.

The most common styles/ applications of pylon signs are:

  • A singular tall pole with a sign mounted to it.
  • A sign mounted between two large poles.
  • Architectural columns with a panel mounted on or between two.
  • A custom illuminated lightbox mounted on one of the three previous options.
internally illuminated sign cabinet mounted on two poles with custom graphics on the face.
Internally illuminated sign cabinet mounted between two poles.

Monument Signs

The main things that qualify a sign as a monument sign are the fact that they are located at ground level (as opposed to in the air like pylon signs), and they have a structural base. They are typically located on the site of the business or center and can be used for a single business or multi-tenant identifier. Because these are located on-site or at the entrance of a center or business, their main purpose is to let the traveler know they have arrived at the main location of the business they are looking for. Additionally, just like the pylon sign, it advertises your business to potential customers that were not aware of your location.

Monument signs allow for a lot of customizable features including but not limited to materials, shapes, colors, sizing, and lighting elements. The options are truly endless.

monument sign for apartment community with two internally illuminated light boxes mounted between three faux stone columns.
Two internally illuminated light-boxes mounted on 3 faux stone columns and sign structure.

Directory Signs

Similarly to a monument sign, directory signs are typically located in an area that is seen as you enter the center or business park. The primary purpose is to identify all the businesses existing at this location with an address number to help navigate through the center or business park.

Where a monument sign usually displays branding, a directory sign more often than not keeps content simple and straightforward with names and arrows (or suite numbers/addresses where applicable).

directory sign prior to install including multiple tenant panels.
Directory sign prior to install including multiple tenant panels.

Directional Signs: Parking Signs, Navigational Signs

Once you find the general area of your business and as you navigate to enter there are many basic signs you encounter. One-way signs, handicap parking signs, and speed limit signs are part of the directional wayfinding category. These signs are critical for informing the traveler how to navigate a parking area, where to park, and also where not to park. All of these signs contribute to the safety of the general public and maintain some sense of order in complex spaces.

When it comes to navigational wayfinding signs, the styles and materials can range greatly. A common solution is a traditional post with a panel mounted on the face. Other popular directional signs are yard signs and A-frames for event signage, post and panel signs, and reflective road signs.

parking signs for local business on single poles.
Parking signs for local business on single poles.

Business Signs

If you think of all the signs as a package, the business sign is the direct marker of your business. This is like the “X marks the spot.” These signs can be either wall-mounted or located out front of the business.  Business signs can appear in many different styles including channel letters, illuminated sign cabinets, or externally illuminated panels. These are very good for promoting your brand and are easily identifiable to your customers.

These signs are especially critical in large business parks (like the one pictured to the right) because there are many tenants with doors closely packed together. These bold and branded business signs allow for ease of locating the correct location! All of which will improve the overall customer experience.

custom channel letter set on building with multiple tenants.
Channel Letter set on building with multiple tenants.

How do these outdoor wayfinding signs work together?

Putting together a cohesive signage plan for your location is critical to creating a relaxed navigational experience as well as a branding experience that is memorable for your customers. It’s a bit subliminal messaging, but it is a very effective tool to keep your business at the forefront of your customer’s minds.

If you think of exterior wayfinding signs as creating a path, it is quite simple to understand how they all work in tandem to direct your customer to your location.

  • Pylon signs attract people from a distance and direction from busy highways.
  • Monument signs catch the eye of those driving by and mark your location.
  • A directory sign helps someone navigate in a business park to your location.
  • Directional signs help customers navigate safely and park in the appropriate areas.
  • A business sign shows that customer exactly where you are/ which door to enter.

While sign styles and allowances vary by code in any given area, utilizing one or all of these outdoor wayfinding sign solutions will inevitably get you noticed!

If you want to create a cohesive signage plan for your location, give the experts at Paramount Signs a call for a free consultation.

We believe that getting you noticed is PARAMOUNT!

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