Identifier Signage

Identifier Signage

Identifier signage is one of the four main sign types found in a wayfinding system. Because they're an important part of a wayfinding system, some thought should be given to how to integrate them or make them consistent with the other sign types in the system such as directional and informational signs. Since 1977, Wm. Whiteley Limited has specialized in interior signage, including Identifier Signage, as well as complete wayfinding and sign systems for both existing and new buildings. Over the past five years alone we have successfully completed well over 100 interior signage projects.

How Identifier Signs Fit into a Wayfinding System

Wayfinding or sign systems specified for a commercial or industrial building generally include the following four primary sign classifications:

  • Directional (point the way to departments or services, etc.)
  • Informational (hours of operation, departments or services available, etc.)
  • Identifier (company, department or individual’s names, room / suite numbers, etc.)
  • Safety / Security (emergency procedures, heath alerts, etc.)

When a visitor or facility user has been successfully guided through a building using its wayfinding system, identifier signs are like the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, confirming that a particular location, function or person has indeed been found. Clearly for this navigation process to be successful, other supporting wayfinding elements – such as directional and informational signage - must be in place. Someone arriving at the front entrance to a building and not having access to directories, directional signage, etc. would have little hope of finding a person or office located on the 22nd Floor.

A Few More Examples of Identifier Signage

Identifier signs may be required to provide direction either inside or on the outside of a building or facility. Typical examples of each type could include:



Department Name;

Municipal Address

Room Name &/or Number

Building or Company Name

Employee Name &/or Function;

Government or Company Branch

Some Considerations in Specifying Identifier Signage

Identifier signage has to be integrated or made consistent with the other sign types in a wayfinding system. For example, if the directional signs guiding the visitor towards the Administration Office have “Administration” shown or highlighted in blue, when the visitor arrives at “Administration” the corresponding identifier signage should be consistent in colour (or other key visual queues such as text style, etc.) so that the person easily recognizes that they have arrived where they wanted to be. This presenting of information in such a way that is obvious or intuitive is an important strategy in making visitors – or staff or residents, for that matter – both more self-sufficient and at the same time less stressed about their ability to navigate their way to the person or services they need.

Another important consideration in specifying identifier signs is whether their text or content is permanent or changeable. Take room numbers as an example: while room / suite numbers themselves usually don’t change over time and so can be considered as a ‘permanent’ sign, some related aspects of signage, such as the name or title of the room’s occupant, are more likely to need updating from time to time. When this combination of ‘permanent’ and ‘changeable’ elements occurs, it may be dealt with either by specifying one sign for the room / suite number and another to identify the occupant or function, or by selecting an option that has both a permanent & changeable component on the same sign.

And finally, a last-but-not-least consideration would be to select signage that relates appropriately in style and materials to the building’s interior finishes. In general, the more neutral the signage, the better, letting other architectural or design elements ‘speak’ more loudly.

Our Identifier Signage Products

To consider the possibilities for changeable sign products see Switch, Tablet and Magpi. For permanent signs see Shapes and Outdoor.