Wayfinding Signage Design

Navigating People Through Place

Wayfinding design combines signage and map design, symbols, color, and typography to effectively navigate people through a space. Especially important in built environments, wayfinding design provides the visual cues to help guide people to their destinations with ease. We work in close collaboration with the key stakeholders and other design consultants on each project. RSM Design is able to design visual wayfinding systems that carries a projects brand voice.

We identify wayfinding signage as vehicular or pedestrian and start with flow of traffic analysis to explore how people will move through cities and into places. After intensive research a rigorous design process is studied from varying perspectives to create a comprehensive wayfinding signage system that can serve the community and stand the test of time.

Read more in our article: What is Wayfinding?


  • Wayfinding Signage
  • Signage Systems
  • Signage Design
  • Wayfinding Programs
  • Wayfinding Experience Evaluation
  • Wayfinding Masterplans + Guidelines
  • Interactive Wayfinding Solutions

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Related Articles.

Pedestrian directory signage at Shops at Clearfork.

Education October 15, 2018

What is Wayfinding? Part 1: It’s All About Human Needs

What is Wayfinding? It’s a simple question that seems like it should yield a fairly simple explanation. And yet it is hardly so. Webster’s dictionary doesn’t list ‘wayfinding’ as a known term. As recently as 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary added “Wayfinding” to their word bank, defining it as, ‘The act of finding one’s way to a particular place; navigation.’ The Society for Experiential Graphic Design, or SEGD, says “Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.”

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Aerial image showing a city with a central park in the center.

Education October 16, 2018

What is Wayfinding? Part 2: The City as a Model

In the 1960s an educator and urban planner named Kevin Lynch first used the term “wayfinding” in his book “The Image of the City” where he describes the city in terms of its physical forms which he said can be “conveniently classified into five types of elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks.” In the context of wayfinding these elements control and facilitate all movement throughout the city for both people and vehicles. While this model is organized around the context and features of a city, it can be applied to most built environments – for example a shopping mall also has paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks.

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A monument sign at Cadence Park in Irvine, California (RSM Design) marks the entrance of one of many parks within the Great Park Neighborhoods.

Education October 17, 2018

What is Wayfinding? Part 3: Wayfinding is More Than Just Signage

If wayfinding is more than just signage, where else can we find it? Architecture, landscaping, lighting, art, and technology all play a significant role in a wayfinding system. As an example, let’s use a mixed-use project (retail plus residential) in an urban core. The project’s first wayfinding decision happens way upstream when a developer evaluates and selects the project site. The site’s proximity to transit, adjacent retail, parks and services begin to define its wayfinding profile. How easy is it to get to the site? How easy is is to get from the site to major transportation routes? Later, the architectural design team begins to add to the project’s wayfinding profile in siting the building(s). How will the architecture respond to the city around it? Will it close itself off from the street or open up to it? Because our example is a mixture of retail and residential components it will likely attempt to do both – to expose the retail while partially obfuscating the residential.

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An image suggesting the possibilities of AR (augmented reality) wayfinding and signage.

Education October 18, 2018

What is Wayfinding? Part 4: What’s Next in Wayfinding

Although we are seeing great strides in the application of technology to wayfinding, it is clear today that there is much room for expansion and improvement in this field. The emergence of the smartphone and the Global Positioning System (GPS) have put powerful wayfinding tools into the hands of almost every person on the planet. Companies like Google have given us incredibly informative maps and images for use in navigation. In vehicular wayfinding, these tools are very competent; one can enter a destination in an app like WAZE and seconds later be given a choice of routes and an ETA. The technology updates in real time, making route and ETA adjustments on the fly. What was once a process of using a printed map, knowledge of past experiences and a series of educated guesses has been replaced by the Certainty brought on by technology. In the past, the most stressful part of vehicular wayfinding was the unknown: What time will I arrive? Will an issue arise causing a delay?

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