Wayfinding Signage for Colleges and Universities

Quality wayfinding signage solutions for educational institutions shares several components in common. Educational facilities, particularly college and university campuses, can be quite confusing, especially for first-time visitors. To help ensure that students, faculty, and staff, can navigate the campus of a college or university, there are different kinds of wayfinding signage that need to be deployed which, in turn, enhance one another to create an effective wayfinding solution.

Directional Signage

Directional signage is one of the most important types of wayfinding signage for educational institutions. When people first arrive on campus, they need clear wayfinding signage that tells them where to park. Next, they need directional or information signage that tells them where key buildings on campus are located, for example, the administration building on a college campus. Text, color, and images can all play a role in directional signage in order to make it as intuitive and easy to follow as possible. Check out the Bellevue University wayfinding project case study.

Identity Signage

Another important type of wayfinding signage for educational institutions is identity signage, or signage that identifies buildings and areas of a campus. For example, many prospective students who visit a university campus need to find the administration building so that they can check in for a tour. Once these prospective students have utilized directional signage that tells them which way to go to find the administration building, then they need to know beyond any doubt that the building they’ve found is the correct one. That’s where identity signage comes in, and it also applies to rooms within buildings and to areas on campus, such as amphitheaters or areas reserved for outdoor activities. Check out the University of Missouri at Columbia project case study.

Access-Related Signage

On the campus of an educational institution, access-related signage can be vital. If construction is occurring on campus, then there needs to be wayfinding signage that alerts students, faculty, staff, and visitors to any detours or to the proximity of hazardous areas. Signage is also often required which denotes restricted areas where people might be paving roads or maintaining sidewalks. A big part of wayfinding is keeping people safe, and signage that regulates access to areas of the campus which are undergoing maintenance or expansion is a vital part of keeping a workable system in place.

Informative Signage

Part of any good wayfinding solution for educational institutions is informative signage, which lets people know pertinent facts about any building or region of the campus. Parking lots sometimes have limited hours during which people can park. Prospective students who have found the administration building on a college campus will need to know the hours of operation for its various offices. People who study or work on campus will need to know how long to expect construction projects to continue and what alternate routes they can take in the meantime. Check out the Southern State Community College project case study.

Wayfinding signage for educational institutions must work on multiple levels. It needs to be effective for first-time visitors who are seeking to find their way around, and it also needs to be effective, on an ongoing, day-to-day basis, for the people who study and work at the facility. For signage to work for all who interact with the facility, it must incorporate multiple levels and layers of important information, all of which will be needed at various points. In this way, everyone who comes in contact with the educational institution is more likely to report positive experiences.


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