In order to understand the spaces we’re designing for, and create the signage that will inhabit them, we’ve created a survey of local city centers, squares, and public gathering places.

Public Wayfinding & Signage Glossary

We’ve categorized the signs that we observed into four general types of wayfinding signage: identification, directional, informational, and regulatory.


Identification signs display the name and brand marks of the space. They inform the visitor of important landmarks they need to identify in order to use the space, and also let the visitor know where within the space that they are. These are a good opportunity to use the space’s branding guidelines to make visitors appreciate the area, and make it feel enjoyable to inhabit. 


  • Branded Signs/Logos
  • Engraved logos
  • Planter grates
  • Lamppost banners
  • Businesses’ signs
  • Wide entrance banners
  • Parking garage signs
  • Info desk signs
  • Restroom signs


Directional signs will allow visitors to navigate the space once they’ve arrived. They need to stand out enough to be visible, but also have to look nice within the space. They should be strategically placed so that visitors will not become lost within the space, and so that they harmonize with the layout and flow of the area.


  • Hanging signs that say “restroom this way,” etc
  • A-frame signs that point toward a landmark, event, etc.
  • Window decal signs that point toward landmarks
  • “Parking this way” signs
  • Signs painted on the ground
  • ATM  >
  • < Escalator
  • < Restrooms


Informational signs give visitors the information they need in order to inhabit and navigate the space. They function best in areas with a lot of foot traffic and exposure, like lobbies, squares, entrances, and atriums, so that all possible visitors can access the needed information. These signs include information like a map of the area, mask guidelines, and hours of operation. They should use symbols and signs that everyone recognizes, but should also function in harmony with the brand guidelines and provide aesthetic consistency.


  • Framed signs on walls
  • Amenities and accommodations (free Wi-Fi; elevators)
  • Facilities signage (bathrooms; exits; cafeteria)
  • Business information (hours of operation; address numbers)
  • Window decals on the entrances to buildings
  • Portable metal frames
  • Event posters on the sides of ATMs
  • Directories and maps set into kiosks
  • Parking garage navigation guides and colors


Regulatory signs give visitors the rules about the space, including area-specific and legal guidelines. They inform visitors about how not to use space, in order to maintain order. These generally include widely-recognized stock signs, and thus often break from the aesthetic system of brand guidelines.


  • Placards on walls, that may say “No Smoking,” “No Skateboarding,” etc.
  • Signs in front of parking spaces that specify the rules of the space.
  • Hanging “Do not Enter” signs, or other traffic indicators to drive through the space
  • Framed signs that display fire codes, mask rules, etc.