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How intuitive design makes office wayfinding a breeze

office space
Belynda Cianci
Published on

Few situations evoke those new-kid jitters like getting lost in an unfamiliar office. If you’re not an employee or a regular visitor, it can be easy to get turned around. If you’re visiting a large office, it can be just as tricky to get back on track.

This is where intuitive office design can save the day. Creative wayfinding signage can help people get around on their own, creating a sense of security and empowerment. Even better, great design can reflect the culture and values of the office while improving health and wellbeing and reducing distractions, making it feel like home for the regulars while being inviting and comfortable for all. 

Signage, graphics, color, and mapping all have their part to play in creating a positive and memorable environment. Here are some exciting ways to use each in your office plan.

Looking to improve your office wayfinding? See Robin’s interactive office maps in a personalized demo.

1. Signage

Wayfinding signage is a big part of our everyday lives. In fact, it’s so common most of us don’t even realize we’re using it. Anywhere you navigate a public space unaided (say, in an airport or a shopping mall) wayfinding signage design plays a big part in the quality of our experience.

The same is true in the office. We’re sure you’ve experienced the frustration of navigating a uniformly beige or poorly guide-posted office. It’s definitely less than ideal. This is where good office design really shines - not just in planning how space is used, but how people engage with the space. 

Despite their utility, directional and informational signs offer a great opportunity to showcase your company’s personality. Creative wayfinding design is all about bringing enjoyment to the office while balancing the functional with the whimsical. 

If you want to bring some fun and function to your signage copy, try these ideas:

Unconventional Naming: Reflect your branding or local pride in the naming conventions used for common spaces. Cali-grown and proud? “Let’s meet at 10:30 am in Big Sur” sounds way cooler than “Let’s meet in 5th floor Conference Doom D.” 

Inspirational Identifiers: There’s not much inspiring about a “break room.” But what about a “salon,” or a “market square”? Bring some personality to your office hotspots by elevating their descriptions. 

Multicultural Cues: Global enterprise meets universal appeal. If the world is your organization’s oyster, celebrate it by providing directions in your most common languages. It adds both personality and convenience for your visitors. 

By the Numbers: Using numbers as guideposts in your planning can create a quick reference for everyone visiting the office. One great example is a bold graphic by an elevator that announces you’re on the right floor (the first step in getting where you’re headed!) 

If you have semi-private seating banks (cubicles or individual work-zones), you can also create intuitive navigation by establishing numbered sectors or banks. (No more “Lost in Cubeland” episodes).

office wayfinding signage like inspirational identifiers to show the market or traditional break room

2. Graphics

Creative imagery is a great way to inject intuitive wayfinding into your visitor experience while adding a splash of personality to the space.

This could be as simple as using universal symbols to direct visitors. For instance, guests looking for an internet connection will know they’ve arrived when they spot the familiar arcs of a WiFi symbol. If they’re on the hunt for a restroom, they’ll be happy to see this electrified (and humorously relatable) take on the typical informational signage. 

Graphics can also create a more productive and peaceful workspace by giving guests clues about their current area. Anyone seeing the familiar ”Zzzs” along a wall, for instance, knows it’s a quiet area meant for recharging those creative batteries. A booth with mobile phone graphics gives users a quick reference for a private spot when they need to take a call. 

Best of all, graphics bridge the inclusivity gaps that wording can sometimes create, making it easy for everyone to orient themselves in the space with confidence.

Improve office wayfinding with creative graphics like this LED restroom signage

3. Color coding

No, we’re not talking about your filing system. Color-coding is a great way to improve your office navigation and vibe.

Studies have shown color’s effect on the brain is far-reaching; it can shape our mood, alter our physiology, even improve our productivity. That’s why incorporating color systems into your office wayfinding can make your space more enjoyable and navigable for everyone. There are many benefits to ditching the beige boardroom look for something more vibrant.

Brand Power: Bold branding using your corporate color scheme can create a wow-factor for visitors and create a sense of cohesion for employees.
Quick Identifiers: Color-coded areas can provide powerful at-a-glance orientation for guests. It also makes giving directions within the office a snap. (After all, it never hurts to make life easier on the front desk.)

Cohesive Community: Employing color theory can help strike a certain mood in your work settings and create a sense of community. If you are planning an activity-based work (ABW) layout, color can be a highly effective way to designate specific task-based areas for members of a particular department or team. 

Improve office navigation with activity-based work and cohesive community so people know exactly what spaces are meant for what activities

4. Office maps

Picture this: A lowly, low-tech office map, relegated to a far wall, fastened slapdash by a piece of yellowing tape, curling at the edges.

It’s a sad sight. Even sadder - they’re often totally out-of-date and ineffective. We’re pretty sure no office visitor has ever found their way around an office using one. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? 

Enter the digital office map. This next-gen wayfinding tool makes it easy for visitors and remote employees to get around, without the stress of getting lost or the embarrassment of showing up late. Upgrading your office experience with a digital wayfinding kiosk is good for everyone: 

Guest to Impressed: Nothing says “on top of the game” like an interactive wayfinding kiosk that helps first-timers navigate the office like a regular. Interactive signage is both practical and visually appealing, bringing a tech-savvy flair to your reception area. 

Space Saver: A digital wayfinding kiosk can do more than get you from point A to point B. Using an interactive map and scheduling system, you can instantly find available rooms and reserve them right from the touchscreen or app. Alas, no more stolen conference rooms or abandoned meeting spaces. 

Dibs on Desks: For offices with flexible workspace needs, using a wayfinding kiosk for hot-desk assignment can help staff grab a seat easily, or find a visiting colleague at a glance. This makes space planning for your part-time remote workers easy. 

Digital office maps is a modern wayfinding tool to help employees and visitors know where they’re going and what’s available at a glance

Bringing it all together

Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas in a new open office, or committing to a makeover in your current space, incorporating good signage practices and intuitive wayfinding cues will deliver high ROI. You’ll have happier and more motivated employees, fewer distractions, and more guests excited to experience the new space. (Tip: An office refresh is a great reason to host a client open house.) 

Pair these benefits with a wayfinding kiosk that makes everyone’s daily routine effortless? Even your full-time remotes will be finding excuses to stop by HQ. 

Could your office use a map upgrade? See how Robin can help improve wayfinding in your office with our interactive officemaps. Schedule a personalized demo with one of our product specialists.

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