Architectural Signage

From cave paintings to digital outputs, we have always depended on 'signs' as a primary method of non-verbal or visual communication. While the words signs and signage are both very broad and generic, the term architectural signage is generally much more narrowly defined. Within the field of environmental graphic communications, architectural signage generally describes signs designed for use in the built environment, primarily as this relates to residential or commercial buildings (as opposed to street signs, highway and transportation signs; advertising billboards; etc.).

Using text, symbols or a combination of both, architectural signage is intended to help meet the information needs of residents, tenants, staff or visitors either while they are within a building or on its property.

To understand the architectural signage requirements for a facility, a good place to start is with the relationship between the interior and exterior signage categories and how together they can establish a good wayfinding system:

Interior Signage

  • Information - consists of signs used to distribute general information about where and what things are such as company, department and staff names, directories, notices, regulations, etc.
  • Identification - includes signs that identify something or someone such as the location of a room, a particular person, area or some other entity.
  • Direction - includes signs which advise which direction to follow to reach a particular location.
  • Safety and Security - involves signs advising what to do or not do such as action to take in case of an emergency or what not do while in the building or on the premises.

Exterior Signage

  • Identification - includes signs which advise the name of the building, or the name of the building owner or principal tenant(s).
  • Direction - involves signs which advise which direction to follow to reach a particular location.
  • Traffic Control - consists of signs used to direct and control the flow of traffic such as parking locations and restrictions, speed limits, entrance and exit information, etc.

Interior + Exterior Signage = A Good Wayfinding System

Architectural signage is the combination of the interior and exterior signage and represents what is called a 'wayfinding system'. The importance or value of a good wayfinding system is that it helps all facility users, be they permanent staff, residents or visitors, by saving valuable time, reducing stress and encouraging self-reliance. It also enhances building and personnel security.

By applying the known information about a building project, either new or existing, to a wayfinding checklist, sign requirements and unique characteristics can be easily identified. Additional requirements that may be unique to the facility, such as coordinating finishes with architectural design, graphic design layouts, etc. can also be identified and addressed.

Wm. Whiteley Limited

Whether you are planning a new wayfinding system or perhaps looking to add to or update an existing system, whatever you situation - whether your project is large or small, whether you yourself are expert or novice - we are happy to help you to assess your requirements and to find the appropriate product to meet your needs in terms of functionality, quality, legibility and esthetics.


Our Signature Products

Our signature products include Switch, Tablet and Magpi. For permanent signs see Shapes and Outdoor.