Wayfinding Sign Systems
Canada’s Directional Sign Solution Experts
Astrographic has many years’ experience designing and building wayfinding and directional sign systems for municipalities, government and private businesses across Canada. Our unique perspective as an experienced manufacturer and designer is strengthened by our team of certified engineers, installers and consultants.
A Wayfinding System is much more than the sign that your visitor sees. The signage is one element of a larger information system that is built upon our understanding of the pathways of visitors. The Wayfinding master plan will find the simplest combination of decision points at key locations, express those directions clearly, and efficiently move visitors to their destination. Your new wayfinding signage system will be designed and built to be attractive, effective, durable, easy to maintain and cost-effective.
Wayfinding Systems: Their Importance
The positive way to connect with a first-time visitor is to make their experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. By understanding the primary needs of visitors, we have an opportunity to direct them to destinations quickly, and they are grateful. When visitors can’t find what they need they get lost and experience confusion, frustration and waste valuable time.
Astrographic’s team has the experience to help you in all the steps of design and implementation:
1. Wayfinding Needs Assessment and Planning
Through the careful review of your location, visitor profiles and destinations, our planning team will identify an information hierarchy, create identifiable sectors and landmarks, and define clear pathways to each destination. Our experts with review your plans and do site visits to document the sightlines and surroundings that visitors experience, and where specific sign elements need to be located for maximum effectiveness.
Give consideration to how your wayfinding system interacts with other moving traffic, including street traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and transit routes. What points of entry will your visitors use and how will you orient them quickly? Consider both the casual user who is exploring and the individual who has a specific purpose in mind. What are their most common destinations? These destinations may include anchor retail tenants, food services, washrooms, public areas, elevators and escalators, information kiosks and pathways to transit or parking. Central traffic hubs and entry points may offer an ideal location for the “You are here” signs that visitors often seek out.
2. Wayfinding Design
Attractive, clear sign design makes all the difference for visitors. We will incorporate your brand identity and use universal symbols and icons that are clear to everyone, including non-English speakers, people with disabilities, and visitors in a hurry. Our designers are also familiar with the strengths and best uses of numerous sign materials and finishes, and will create sign specifications in accordance with industry best practices. The master plan will identify all the signage pieces to be created, including wall-mounted signs, free-standing signs, kiosks, arrows, overhead signs, parking lot signage, door signs and decals, and floor graphics. Each sign element is assigned an item number within our information hierarchy.
3. Wayfinding System Documentation
Consistency and clarity are important in the development of a credible pathfinding signage system. As part of the design process, we create graphic standards and typical drawings which form the nucleus of each sign element. This extensive documentation provides clarity for any future additions to the sign system, including new sign locations, or changed information concerning buildings, destinations, parking facilities or other amenities.
4. Wayfinding System Supply and Install
With over 30 years of experience in building wayfinding systems, Astrographic is your best choice to bring your new directional sign system to life. We have installed sign systems for clients across Canada, and a few are shown in our projects portfolio. A typical wayfinding system will include free-standing directional signs, wall-mounted identity signs, overhead signs, projecting and flag signs, parking lot signs, standard parking lot and stairwell signs, door numbers, backlit information panels and washroom facility signs.
5. Wayfinding System Maintenance
This phase of the ownership cycle is often overlooked or inadequately addressed in plans. Your signage system will be expected to perform for years, sometimes in harsh weather conditions and heavy traffic. Also, buildings are sometimes re-configured, tenants leave, departments move or other facilities are added. Our designers will have included consideration for these changes. Maintenance will therefore be cost-effective and easy, and our extensive design documentation will ensure that any new sign elements fit seamlessly into your system.
Applications for Wayfinding Signage Systems
Context is everything
Wayfinding sign systems are best used when pedestrian traffic requires direction to specific locations with maximum efficiency. The needs of the user and the unique details of the location determine the optimal formulas for the number of signs, their inter-relationship and locations. Directional signs are often used in the context of:
- Subway systems
- Transit stations
- Bus loops
- Train stations
- Public plazas
- University campuses
- School campuses
- Office complexes
- Shopping Centers
- Cycling paths
- Performance venues
- Concert halls
- Manufacturing facilities
- Research complexes
- Government buildings
- Public pedestrian routes
Important Factors to Consider when Designing your Wayfinding Signage System
Your new sign system must combine easily understood language and symbols to provide clear information and directions for your location. In other words it must be understood by everyone and yet unique to its place. Naturally you will also want to ensure that it fits with your identity and other communication standards. Finally, since a wayfinding system is not just a concept or a graphic, but a set of built structures out in the real world, you must consider material durability, weather, installation requirements and ongoing maintenance and replacement strategies. Here are some of the factors Astrographic has identified as important when creating a new system of urban directional signs:
- Civic colours and graphics
- Viewing Distances
- Information Classes
- Information Hierarchy
- Navigation segments
- GIS integration
- Scale and Repeatability
- Future System Expansion
Cost Projections and Fabrication Considerations
The initial costs of your Wayfinding System are only one factor
A good wayfinding system is a significant investment, but as a long-term part of your infrastructure, the benefits will continue for a very considerable time. However, you should remember that it is very likely that the system will require modification and repairs. Your sign system will need to accommodate new destinations or changes in information as new facilities are built or featured destinations re-locate. Vandalism, accidents or other events will mean that you must re-produce particular components of your system before their expected replacement date. If you are a municipality with your own sign shop, will you have the capacity to make these changes and additions using your own staff? Can your staff do the installation themselves, or will they require outside help from a professional sign installer? At that future date, will you have access to compatible colour-matched components and know precisely the typographic standards to use? Are components and fasteners easily sourced and handled, or are they obscure proprietary parts that are difficult to assemble?
We need to understand the likely future costs of maintenance and upgrading of the system. It is important to avoid a situation where your capability to renew the signage is limited or so costly that you are unable to keep the system up-to-date and looking good. Here is a list of some factors that have significant impact on the total cost of ownership of your wayfinding system:
- Weather Cycles
- Expected Years of Life
- Installation methods
- Sign materials
- Paint finishes
- Reflectivity or Illumination
- Electrical Services
- Applied lettering specs
- Scratch resistance
- Hardware and fasteners
- Soil conditions
- Vandalism repairs
Common synonyms for Wayfinding in Canada
Governments, universities and cities may use a number of different terms to describe their wayfinding signage systems. Here are a number of terms commonly used to describe wayfinding in Canada:
- Urban path markings
- Directional signage
- Environmental signage
- Pedestrian guideways
- Cyclist signage
- Bicycle path markings
- You are here signage
- Urban Navigation
- Urban Trail signs
- Urban pathway signage
- Local Map Signs
- Pedestrian Route Signs
Canada’s Trusted Supplier of Wayfinding Signs, Systems, and Design
With many years’ experience in the design, manufacturing and installation of wayfinding systems for public spaces, shopping malls, airports, transit stations, recreation facilities, hospitals, universities, offices and production plants, Astrographic is a trusted choice for many Canadian municipalities and government agencies. In addition to pedestrian-friendly orienting, Astrographic integrates a full range of MUTCDC and MoT standard traffic signs, parking signs and traffic safety products. With this unified approach, Vancouver, BC based Astrographic offers complete wayfinding systems with leading price and delivery terms across Canada.
Discuss the specific needs of your wayfinding project with one of Astrographic’s directory sign and wayfinding sign experts. Our team will work with your own resource groups to integrate your new wayfinding system into existing facilities, with a view to your specific needs and goals.
To learn more about Astrographic’s custom wayfinding sign systems, please call 1.800.663.6551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax us a quote request to 604.596.1211 or use our easy Wayfinding Information Request Form.
Learn more about our Wayfinding Design and Install Services
Canada’s Wayfinding experts are ready to help.
Wayfinding Sign Systems Designed and Manufactured in Canada
Our team of Canadian sign experts have installed directional sign systems in numerous locations across Canada, including airports, transit stations, town centers, recreational facilities, hospitals, universities and retail malls. Astrographic’s Vancouver, BC manufacturing plant stocks commonly used traffic signs and safety products to MUTCDC standards, ready to ship across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and all provinces in Canada. We can produce all traffic and parking sign formats required by governments across Canada, including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. We make daily shipments from the Vancouver BC area to destinations including Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Kamloops, Whistler, Squamish, Prince George, Prince Rupert and Cranbrook. Alberta destinations include Edmonton, Calgary, St. Albert, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, Lloydminster, Airdrie, Okotoks and Fort McMurray. We work with clients in Winnipeg, Brandon, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Etobicoke, London and Markham.
Astrographic’s directional sign system experts are standing by to help create a cost-effective solution for your wayfinding sign system project. Contact us to discover more about our wayfinding and directional sign solutions.
As an 3M certified sign fabricator, Astrographic provides a full warranty on all our standard regulatory traffic signs, wayfinding sign systems and parking signs. Our experienced staff have worked with the entire range of 3M reflective products and marking materials, and our 12,000 square foot facility is set up to produce all standard sizes and formats of reflective road signs, including engineer grade, hi-intensity grade and diamond grade reflective signs. Numerous government reflective traffic sign safety studies have confirmed their safety benefits. In our Vancouver-area manufacturing plant we use industry-standard sign-grade aluminum alloys for our reflective traffic signs, parking signs and safety signage. We also carry a wide range of other sign marking products from Avery, Oracal and other major suppliers, ensuring that our clients get outdoor traffic, parking and safety signage with long-term durability in the colors they need.