Way-finding Signage and Entrance Gateways


In the most familiar sense we use wayfinding daily to navigate hallways and streets, as we move through buildings and cities. But wayfinding also defines specific places, as it identifies borders and the uses within them. IAF and its members help you inform and direct your residents and visitors, to services and amenities located within your community.

To locate routes, find their destination and plan their return, people make choices based on information they collect through their senses. When finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, people depend on wayfinding to inform their decisions. And for those residents and employees who already feel familiar with their environments, the process of wayfinding becomes “placemaking” to better define what activities and amenities are within those centers.

For instance having a part of downtown that has old, historic buildings may benefit from being rebranded as “The Historic District” of your community. Wayfinding provides information at strategic points to guide people in the right direction to the Historic District and goes further, to align the services, look and feel of this unique place as a center of living history. How you message that the Historic District exists, where it is located, where are the borders and what happens within them is the process of wayfinding and placemaking.

One of the most visible components of wayfinding is signage, but that is only a part of the process. For instance, landmarks can facilitate wayfinding. A landmark could be a building, landscape feature, an art object or sign. These elements combine to shape the identity, theme or sense of place for your community. In our work we:

  • Identify borders and what happens with them, currently or as part of a plan
  • Create clear, consistent and comprehensive visual communication
  • Determine key strategic points to guide people in the right direction
  • Provide the right information at the right time that creates a natural flow
  • Collect information through an audit of your community’s built environment to help us recommend routes

Of course in addition to landmarks, signage is an important component of wayfinding. As our CDP team assesses the best orientation tools for your community, we will focus on four types of signs:

  • Information: signs conveying information about services and facilities, such as maps, directories or instructional signs
  • Direction: signs showing the location of services, facilities, functional spaces and key areas such as sign posts or directional arrows
  • Identification: signs indicating services and facilities, such as room names and numbers, restrooms or floor levels
  • Safety and regulatory: Signs giving safety instructions, such as warning, traffic, exit or rules and regulations signs

When our team takes on wayfinding as part of our CDP engagement, we deliver a program and strategy that provides solutions for how people find their way to, and within, your community, and the lasting image that stays with them. We define destination centers by their uses, signage and landmarks, to create memorable places for residents and visitors alike.