What is Navigational Design?

Navigational design can be defined as the wayfinding system, encompasses all of the ways in which people and animals orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place. It does links different people together, even if they do not share a common language or destination, by guiding all of them through the same place with a single system of communication.

Basically, the wayfinding system can be found as the signages maintained in physical spaces to help people navigate. For instance, signages in the building, airport,  park or a mall would provide information on where to find what and where we currently are.

Most wayfinding systems can be separated down into several categories of signages which are identification, directional, orientation, and regulatory.

Identification Signage: The building blocks of wayfinding, it usually give the first impression of a destination. They are visual markets that show the name and function of a place or space, whether it is a room, an individual building, or a campus gateway. They located at the beginning and end of routes and indicate entrances and exits to primary and secondary destinations.


Directional Signage: It constitute the circulatory system of a wayfinding program because they provide the necessary cues that users need to keep on the move once they have entered a space. This sign type routes pedestrian or vehicular traffic between main entrances, key decision points, destinations, and exit points by showing graphic prompts, such as typography, symbols, and arrows. While their design should harmonize with the surrounding architecture, directional signages also need to be common and recognizable. Message content should be simple, coordinated for easy navigation through an entire facility, and based on a specific wayfinding strategy.


Orientation Signage: In order to make a complicated space less baffling, orientation signage offer visitors and overview of their surroundings in the form of comprehensive site maps and directories. The design of orientation signages need s to coordinate with other identification and directional signages in a system. When all these signages work together, visitors are able to move easily along circulation routes.


Regulatory Signage: It can be described as the do’s and dont’s of a place. It can be as simple as a No Smoking sign or a more complex display with rules indicating how citizens should enjoy and respect their public park. Some regulatory messages, particularly those that describe egress from a building, need to comply with legal codes. As codes vary from one justification to another, it is important to become familiar with local regulations that apply to the site under consideration.

Adopted from
The Wayfinding Handbook (David Gibson)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s