Navigation and signage Print

​​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  1. Building design and the use of wayfinding aids creates an easily navigable development
  2. Navigation is considered in terms of accessibility and provides for people with vision, hearing or mobility impairments


​Occupants and visitors should be able to effortlessly navigate a mixed use development.

Easy navigation of a site extends beyond simply providing signage; there are numerous opportunities to ease navigation through building design. This includes architectural elements such as: 
  • an identifiable entrance visible from all directions of approach
  • an information desk visible on entering the building
  • a central orientation space into which other areas connect
  • prominent landmarks (e.g. a special stair or sculpture) that visitors will remember and use to orientate themselves in the future.​

Better Design Practice

Consider navigation and signage early in the design process.

Wayfinding should be considered as early as possible so it is integrated within the design of the building. In complex situations consider engaging an expert to develop a comprehensive wayfinding strategy. ​

Name and number spaces clearly and consistently.

When correctly applied, naming or numbering areas and spaces eases a visitor’s journey through a complex site. Apply common-use terms in a clear and consistent manner to avoid confusion and contradictory navigation instructions.​

Walk the route.

Walk the route, walk it again and walk it in reverse. Do this with others of different ages and cultural groups to check their understanding. Make sure to consider the arrival points of different modes of transport to the development.

Select signage materials wisely.

Hardwearing materials that stand up to wear, tear and general maintenance are essential in public and common areas. Flexibility of signage systems is important in certain situations, particularly where there are changing tenancies or occupants; however, providing a flexible system across the site can be expensive.​


Aim for consistency of wayfinding signage throughout the development. Colour coding can make a significant difference when navigating a complex development; for example emergency signs, directional information and parking signs should each be represented by a different colour. Good colour contrast is important, especially for people with impaired vision.​


​Signage should be as clear, short and concise as practicable. Consider sign layout, font size, font type, use of symbols and visual contrast with background.

This is especially applicable to signage for drivers as reading and decision making time can be limited. ​

Other considerations:

Other aspects of wayfinding to consider:
  • Information can be provided pre-visit for complex situations (e.g. online maps)
  • Careful location of signage e.g. locating directional signs at or before every major intersection, and at major destinations
  • Use of different building colours or materials to identify major destinations
  • Whether visitors will use the English language or if universal symbols should be employed
  • Provision of hand held maps, directory boards or “You are here” maps.

Further information:
  • ​ISO 28564-1:2010 Design principles and element requirements for location plans, maps and diagrams
  • BS ISO 17049:2013 Accessible design. Application of braille on signage, equipment and appliances
Provide Feedback Next Page   Previous Page