Can you imagine visiting an airport, hospital, school or museum where there were no signs indicating where you are, where to go and what to do in case of an emergency?
Not having good wayfinding and signage is a huge disservice to anyone who comes on your campus. Having it shows you're strategic, responsible and thoughtful and that you understand the importance. Oftentimes, people believe it's fine to open a new and/or renovated space on a church campus without adding or updating new wayfinding and signage. They assume people will find their way around. But doing this would be like opening with no heating/air conditioning or electricity. Make the experience pleasant all the way around!
Wayfinding and signage is crucial to the space on so many levels – from helping a weekend guest find his/her way around your campus and assisting anyone looking for a room/space in your building to meeting ADA requirements and providing responsible and necessary communication in case of an emergency!
So how can your church assess and improve your wayfinding and signage? Here are a few easy steps to take:
- Find several people who have never been in your building (or don't know your building well) and give them a series of problems to solve and/or rooms to find. From the time they approach your campus, walk up to your building and enter your building, can they find places such as the restrooms, offices, sanctuary, kitchen and meeting rooms/classrooms, given the current signs you have? Have them keep track of how they found what they were looking for. This will help you solve some gaps.
- Do a little role-playing with your staff/team. Pretend you are a parent who doesn't know your campus and is trying to pick up a child. Pretend you are a delivery person. Pretend you are a first-time visitor on a Sunday. Narrate the thoughts of that person, so your team can hear how confusing your space might actually be.
The number one thing most churches forget when it comes to their wayfinding and signage is the aesthetic. So many times, church signs are cluttered, too difficult to read, in the wrong place and are using the wrong materials. Signage should:
- Meet ADA regulations/standards
- Be clean
- Be simple
- Be up-to-date
- Be able to be seen from far distances
Here are a few additional considerations when thinking through your wayfinding and signage:
- Consider your space from a guest’s perspective. Make note of everywhere that a guest would have to make a decision (dividing hallways, large open space, stairs, etc.) and consider a potential signage solution for each.
- Consider what your space looks like when full of people. Where does signage need to be placed when a space is crowded? Look for ways to place signage high and at eye level to increase visibility.
- Consider how you can tell the story of your church in your space:
- Where could the church’s mission and vision be displayed as rallying points around the church?
- Are there key church words that you could create an environmental display around?
- How can you share the history of the church?
- How could you communicate the key initiatives of the church (for example, the focus on missions or the urban ministry)?
Wayfinding and signage is a critical component of your church’s space. Show everyone who comes to your campus that you understand the importance of it and want to make their experience enjoyable.
Lead Communications Strategist