November 17, 2021

The 4 Types of Directional Signage

Signs provide directions, and that makes them essential. Picture yourself in an unfamiliar place. Perhaps you just hopped off a plane in a new country and you don’t speak the native language. More than likely, you’ll still be able to make sense of the wayfinding signage due to the inclusion of symbols or pictures. Any time we need to find our way, signage is there to guide us. Next time you go for a walk, take note of how many you come across. You’ll quickly realize just how important directional signage is to your everyday life. It might surprise you, however, to learn that there are four types, and they all serve different purposes:


This type of directional signage is pretty straightforward: it identifies the location so the visitor can recognize where they are. Think about being in an office building; have you ever seen a sign labeled “Conference Room” or “Break Room”? What about bathroom signage in a restaurant? In each of these circumstances, the signs are placed at the location to identify it. If the viewer is standing outside the room, they will be able to know what they’ll find inside. If they’ve been looking for the bathroom or the break room, they’ll instantly know they’ve arrived at the right place.


Simply put, directional signage helps people get to wherever they need to go. In a train station, signs will point in the direction of platforms so people can reach them in time. Outside an airport terminal, signs with arrows and a small amount of textual information help drivers find the right drop-off or pick-up spot quickly. On a U.S. highway, bright yellow signs with arrows might indicate a right-hand exit ramp. In this situation, people might be in a hurry so it’s always best to provide succinct information and easy-to-understand symbols to guide the way.


This is one of the more detailed kinds of directional signage. If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall, you have probably used a directory to locate a specific store at one point or another. This type of sign will include plenty of additional detail, like a map of the space and various categories like electronics, books, boutiques and restaurants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be noticing more signage defining social distancing rules or mask-wearing policies; these will include a short paragraph explaining helpful information. In most situations, informational signage describes and communicates a message that can’t be put across with a single symbol or a few words.


Regulatory signage helps visitors know what they can or can’t do in a specific location. Like directional signs or identification signs, they are usually short and to the point in order to transmit guidelines or laws quickly and efficiently. After all, people can’t be expected to meet the requirements of a certain place if they don’t know what they are. This is why clarity is so imperative to this type of signage. The most common regulatory signs are no smoking signs, stop signs, no parking signs, and do not enter signs.

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We are the experts in creating effective business signage and directional signage, whether it’s more traditional or modern and digital. East West Sign Group knows all about sign design and installation, and we have worked with countless businesses to boost business with great signage. To learn more about how we can design the right sign for you, contact us today!

November 17, 2021