wayfinding signage benefits

Top 3 Surprising Wayfinding Signage Benefits for Driving Repeat Visitors

Published on: December 17, 2019

Wayfinding signage is often taken for granted by property owners and developers alike. Most people consider signage as a last-minute task that must be completed quickly and cheaply at the very end of the property development project. That’s why many signage programs end up being basic, cursory, and standard—falling far short of their potential. A well-designed wayfinding signage program can do so much more. 

The first benefit of successful wayfinding design is obvious: well-designed programs help people navigate your property much more easily. Because they’re based on extensive site and community research, they eliminate frustrations and improve efficiency across the board. This benefit alone can have incredible impacts on property performance, but the best wayfinding programs go above and beyond this baseline. These additional wayfinding signage benefits may surprise you. 

3 Unexpected But Crucial Wayfinding Signage Benefits 

When developers stop seeing signage as an afterthought, they’re often surprised to discover how useful wayfinding can be as a tool for achieving top-priority goals. The following benefits are therefore surprising to many, but they’re certainly not unique. Companies, institutions, and cities that invest in high-quality wayfinding often experience the following benefits: 

1. Improved Brand Perception

wayfinding signage benefits for Stanford Children's Health

Engaging and strategically-designed signage reflects positively on the brand of your property—most often, in a subtle way that visitors don’t even notice. From their perspective, things just flow smoothly and they’re able to get to their destinations without delay. Bad signage, on the other hand, is immediately noticeable and can cause immediate harm to a brand’s reputation. 

Nowhere is this effect more apparent than in the healthcare industry. Hospitals sometimes have a reputation for being difficult to navigate, with patients getting lost or having trouble finding the correct room on time. A strategically improved wayfinding program eliminates these frustrations and leads to a more seamless user experience. Great signage, then, can result in increased patient satisfaction and an improved perception of the brand as a whole. 

The Stanford Children’s Health system, for instance, benefited from a branding boost due to updated wayfinding. As part of a comprehensive signage overhaul, they created a branded set of sign standards which was then implemented across over 120+ clinics in the Bay Area. The new signage program created a uniform look and feel across the entire system and elevated the already-positive reputation of Stanford Children’s Health. 

2. Increased Market Share

Updated wayfinding signage sends a clear message: this property is current, well kept, and new. Customers passing by in their vehicles or on foot could be considered the most valuable bottom-funnel target audience for such a message—and an updated signage program is the best way to trigger their conversion. 

In the retail industry, signage is a powerful way for shopping centers to keep up with their competition. Newer shopping centers often look more inviting than older properties, unless the older ones embark upon a rebranding journey and invest in signage to match. New wayfinding signage, especially, improves the navigational ease of a property and makes stores more accessible for quick in-and-out errands. This is also an opportunity to display to customers the ways in which your property is environmentally-friendly—including recycling, walking paths, and bike racks—which makes your property appeal to a more environmentally-conscious public. All of these choices have the potential to increase your market share. 

wayfinding signage benefits include increased market share

Signage was one of the key strategy points that helped transform Westborough Square into the vibrant neighborhood shopping center it is today. During a tenant shift, property owners took the opportunity to revive the graphics and signage of the entire property. Wayfinding and monument signs helped make the center more attractive to contemporary customers and regain market share from other retail destinations nearby. 

3. Economic Growth

Finally, new or updated wayfinding signage can also spark new waves of economic growth, particularly in a civic setting. Cities that improve their urban wayfinding programs often see increases in traffic and return visitors. Plus, signage programs are also powerful tools that can be used to alert visitors of a city’s most important amenities—downtown districts, arts venues, or shopping destinations—and to direct traffic to those locations. More visitors equals more revenue. Over the long term, as more individuals and businesses choose to locate in your municipality, the entire area will experience growth over time. 

The City of San Leandro’s downtown district was in desperate need of this kind of revitalization. The city needed to funnel abundant traffic from nearby highways and public transit systems into the downtown shopping district and chose to invest in an updated urban wayfinding program to achieve that goal. The strategic new wayfinding program helped increase awareness of the downtown area, which became more vibrant and experienced positive economic growth as a result. 

Getting Started With Your Next Signage Project

These surprising wayfinding signage benefits only appear when it is a well thought out part of your property development strategy. When signage is a priority, you’re able to take the time to partner with an experienced signage consultant and allow them the time to design and strategize for your benefit. That’s why we always recommend getting started on the signage process early. By treating wayfinding as a crucial opportunity for optimization, you experience all of these benefits and more.


GNU Group is a full-service wayfinding design firm with over thirty years of experience in the signage industry. We design, implement, and maintain innovative wayfinding solutions for clients across a wide range of industries, with a great track record of achieving all of the surprise benefits outlined above. Connect with our team to give your next signage project the attention it deserves.