What is wayfinding and why is it important in a university setting?


Wayfinding is the art and science of getting people where they need to go quickly, easily and safely. In a university setting, it’s critical that wayfinding is as effective as possible. Students need to know how to find their classes on campus, staff members must understand where all the departments are located within their buildings, and visitors should be able to navigate around campus without feeling overwhelmed or lost.


Wayfinding is navigational design that helps guide people through an environment.

Wayfinding is a branch of environmental design, which includes many different practices that improve the physical world around us. Architects, urban planners, and interior designers all work in this field; however wayfinding is unique because it focuses on guiding users through buildings or spaces rather than creating them from scratch or modifying existing structures.


Grounded in psychology and user experience research, wayfinding directs people to the things they need.

Wayfinding is a form of environmental communication helping people find what they need, navigate around campus and get to where they need to be. It’s a little different than signage because it’s not just about reading the signs or knowing where the building is that you want to go. Instead, wayfinding directs people through their physical environment in order to complete tasks and activities within that environment.


In this context, “environment” refers not only to buildings but also outdoor spaces like sports fields or courtyards; even outdoor areas can play host to activities as well as being part of an overall campus experience—this includes both large-scale (like an amphitheater) or small scale (like stairs leading up from ground level).


It uses signage, positioning, and color theory to help people find their way.

Once you understand what wayfinding is, it’s time to think about how you can apply it to your own university setting. Use signage that is easy to read, consistent, and clear and place signs in a way that makes sense to the user. Harness colour schemes and separate different areas of the campus into schemes to make them quickly and easily recognisable. Also, make sure any wayfinding easy to find and positioned in a place where it won’t be blocked by other visual elements or used objects.


Good wayfinding can reduce cognitive load, allowing people to focus on what is important and avoid stress or anxiety.

When you’re lost in an unfamiliar place, it’s easy to feel stressed out and anxious about finding your way. You might also be distracted by looking for directions or trying to remember where you are going. Wayfinding can help people find their way quickly and easily, which reduces the amount of stress they experience when trying to navigate unfamiliar spaces such as a university campus.  This is particularly important in a university setting where new students / freshers are likely to already be experiencing some level of stress due to the new environment they are faced with.


Wayfinding helps people enjoy their learning experience at the university campus. The process of wayfinding can reduce roadblocks that reduce productivity and access to information. For example, students who are lost or unsure how to get somewhere will waste time looking for directions. This can lead to stress, anxiety and even missed classes if it happens frequently.


People who are unfamiliar with a place need clear information about how to get around.

Wayfinding is important for all people, but it’s especially important for those who are unfamiliar with a place. For example, if you have never been to the university library before and are looking for help in finding resources, you may feel stressed or anxious. You may also waste your time wandering around until someone gives you directions. It can be frustrating trying to find what you need when the information is not clearly visible or easy to access.


There are many benefits from wayfinding signage: it reduces stress and anxiety; improves productivity; increases access to information; allows communication between departments (for example, between facilities management and security); supports orientation programs; and promotes a positive image to community members as well as visitors.



Wayfinding is also essential in creating an inclusive environment by providing accessible routes and access. Signage can include braille to ensure guidance is offered to everyone.


Setting up directional signs for new arrivals at a university is an important part of creating a welcoming environment

Wayfinding is an important part of creating a welcoming environment for newcomers, visitors, students and staff. If you’re setting up wayfinding signage within your university or college campus, there are some key principles to keep in mind to ensure that it’s effective.

Here are some things to consider when designing wayfinding systems:

  • Ensure that there are clear routes between all parts of the site – not just between buildings but also between areas within buildings (e.g., staircases). This will help people find their way around at all times of day.
  • Consider how users might navigate if they’re with someone else who knows the building well or if they’ve been there before themselves but may be less familiar with certain areas around them at that moment in time (e.g., if they’ve recently moved into halls).

Signbox has over 36 years in designing, manufacturing and installing intuitive, modern and aesthetic wayfinding systems that can hardness both traditional hard signage and also modern digital wayfinding interactive screens. 


Take a look at our case studies specialising in University Wayfinding and Signage Here:-

UCL – University College London

INTO London – UEA

INTO University of East Anglia

British Academy – London


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