How Wayfinding Sign Systems Keep People Safe

When visitors drive along the street, businesses need to be clearly identified so that customers can distinguish them from other stores nearby. Within the building itself, employees, patients, and/or customers rely on signs and visual displays to stay safe and find their way through a plaza, facility, or store.

Start by determining specific locations that people should use extra care when navigating, then provide the proper wayfinding signs and visual graphics around those particular spaces.

Use Wayfinding Sign Systems to Help People Navigate

Sign systems help create clearly marked entry and exit points so that people can quickly and safely find their way. Wayfinding signage also helps people visiting hospitals, campuses, and other public spaces find their way to their end destination.

They are particularly important in large complexes, such as airports, hospitals, museums, and parks, where people can get lost. Used correctly, wayfinding sign systems can help clear up confusion and put your visitors at ease.

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Warning Signs

Local ordinances or the rental agreements in malls and plazas typically come with certain requirements to guarantee the safety of anyone visiting the property. To comply with these agreements and keep your clients safe, use wayfinding signs to avoid confusion and help people confidently navigate the area. In certain instances, this is essential to avoid injury and potential liability issues. Make sure that your wayfinding signs cover the following scenarios:

Block off restricted or dangerous areas.

Use the appropriate wayfinding signage and symbols to clearly identify restricted areas and any potential hazards. For instance, hospitals typically put up signs regarding radiation exposure outside areas where patients undergo MRIs or CAT scans.

Guide foot traffic.

Besides warning people away from restricted or dangerous areas, it's equally important to use wayfinding signage to show them how to get back to safe areas and find what they are looking for.

Include warnings during construction.

In areas closed due to construction, place warning and danger signs around the perimeter of the area to keep guests from getting hurt.

Warn of dangerous equipment.

If you own a restaurant or other business that uses open flames or dangerous equipment, be sure to mark a path around the area directing people which way to go to avoid such dangers.

Keep foot traffic moving during special events.

If your business hosts events, additional wayfinding signs are crucial. It's a good idea to keep pedestrians moving in mainly one direction to prevent bottlenecks and confusion. You'll need customized clearly visible signs for portable restrooms, featured performances or attractions, parking and exits. This is one of the best ways to ensure a safe and fun event that people will return to again and again.


Emergencies and disasters are unavoidable and strike without warning. That's why it's crucial to have sign systems in place that clearly direct people where to go in an emergency. At your business or facility, this strategy may include:

  • Warning visitors to use the stairs and not elevators in case of a fire.
  • Directing people to a tornado or hurricane shelter (this is especially important in tourist areas where guests aren't familiar with the city).

Direct Traffic with Precautionary Information

Your responsibility for your customers doesn't begin and end when they walk through the door of your business. In order to keep everyone safe, use wayfinding signs to:

  • Clearly mark loading/unloading zones
  • Warn pedestrians of a bus crossing/vehicle traffic outside your building
  • Warn drivers of upcoming speed bumps, one-way streets, and dead end alleyways
  • Clearly mark parking available or unavailable to the public

If you’re ready to create a safer space with customized wayfinding sign systems, give Spectrum a call today so we can help you get started. We’ll help you determine which wayfinding signs could benefit your business and how to safely guide your visitors to their destination.

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Rick Ferraro

Rick Ferraro [fa icon="linkedin-square"]

Rick is the President and co-founder of Spectrum Signs, a custom business sign maker in Blaine, MN. After several years in the sign industry, Rick opened Spectrum Signs in 2001. Through the disciplines of design, brand identity, and combining knowledge with experience, Rick helps to provide customers with the best creative and functional solutions to their sign needs. When Rick isn’t busy creating solutions for customers you can find him spending time with his family, watching his sons play baseball and hockey, as well as fishing and hunting.