Making the Most of Directional Signage: Top 5 Design and Display Tips

Making the Most of Directional SignageTop 5 Design and Display Tips

Today’s post is all about directional signs. Read on to learn 5 design and display tips for a smoother sale or event!

  • Place your signs where people are – not where you want them to go! It may seem obvious that your signs will need to be displayed where people actually arrive or congregate, but many event organizers and business owners mess directional signage up, placing their restroom signs within 5 feet of the restroom, or sticking their food and refreshment signage right next to the serving area.Directional signage for restrooms, exits, stairs, elevators, and food or refreshment should be set up in high traffic areas where guests frequently gather. Approach your directional sign set up intending to lead your guests to certain areas via a trail of “breadcrumbs.” Naturally, if you want to get them on the right trail, you need to place the first “breadcrumb” in the area they’ll arrive!
  • Follow the KISS principle. When it comes to directional signage, it’s always best to Keep It Simple, Stupid! Though nobody wants a boring or unattractive directional display, stuffing signage full of graphics, colors, and information is a mistake.While it’s natural to equate more design elements with higher attention-grabbing potential, in reality it’s quite the opposite. People tend to tune out distractions, and that’s exactly what excessive colors, fonts, or graphics come across as.

Don’t be scared to customize your sign with simple designs or logos, but be sure you’re not taking away from its purpose, which is to convey clear, concise directional information.

  • Be bright and bold. In the previous point, we stressed the importance of simplicity, but that does not mean your sign should be unremarkable. Brightly colored signs with bold wording will be most effective at capturing your guests’ attention, being legible even at great distances. For best results, try to pick colors that stand out against the overall decor of the event. Contact one of our signage experts for some palette recommendations.
  • Use arrows strategically. Arrows are a natural addition to most directional signage, especially if you’re using the breadcrumb strategy outlined above, but be sure that you’re using these cues wisely. Make sure you don’t leave any room for misinterpretation, as some arrows can be too ambiguous; does an upward-pointing arrow mean the restroom is straight ahead, or on the second floor?
  • Consider your audience’s eyelines. When most people think of signs, they think of store frontage, signposts, or billboard. What do these all have in common? Overhead placement. But is overhead placement optimal for directional signs?

The answer ultimately depends on the audience you’re trying to inform, but as a general rule, overhead directional signs aren’t great for dynamic events that move crowds through multiple areas. This is in part due to the fact that overhead signs pull our eyes into unnatural positions; how often do you look up when moving through a crowd? For the most part, people look straight ahead or slightly downward in order to walk safely. In these cases, floor-level signs can be great, slipping naturally into the spaces we tend to look. On the other hand, more static events that occur in a single room or two may benefit from mounted signs, which will never be obstructed in their overhead position.

Want to learn more about directional signage? Visit to explores different options or begin the design process today.


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