Wayfinding History


Also known as the way to organize spaces and make sense of it, so that the person gets located in a specific place.

Large facilities are the ones that most and best use these wayfinding systems, an example of these are: airports, train or bus stations, hospitals, museums, shopping centers and universities.

The term Wayfinding of Anglo-Saxon origin, refers to «finding the way», «orientation» or «navigation» which in its simplest format expresses the information system for the location and guidance of people in the physical spaces where they are , improving the experience with absolute certainty and making the visit of the individual or the various places much more practical, also optimizing time and taking care of the emotions of those who need to understand the space and clearly know where they are going

Wayfinding is not a modern technique, actually it could be said without fear of mistake that it is an ancient practice, since, from the most primitive cultures, man has felt inherent in it the need to be located in time and in space, so they used the stars, air currents, the location of the sun, memorized patterns of waves and clouds in order to understand their location not only in space, but also with this system they created navigation channels. This indicates that the human being from his most primary beginning has required signs that locate and direct him to the present day.

With the Greek and Roman civilizations, the foundations were forged for what we know today as orientation signs, focusing much more on the signs that contained images, than on those that contained writing, since as they were civilizations in full development, not all the people could read and write.

The first signage notices that were present in these civilizations were commercial ones, since they indicated where taverns or inns were located, as well as blacksmiths, shoe stores or workshops, the reason for this was to make them much more locatable within the complexity of the great Roman and Greek cities.

Centuries later they took such a boom that the streets, avenues, and highways around the world began to be marked, locating citizens where they were and how they could go to their destination.

Later the administrators and developers of office buildings, shopping centers and other pedestrian areas, felt the need to locate their users, in the most efficient way and that is when the designers began to evaluate how to navigate and direct people through of public spaces in a more suitable way.

This is how today it would be unthinkable to imagine an airport, a shopping center, any public or private entity, roads, streets and highways, a supermarket, hospitals, clinics, universities, (in this way we could continue with an almost endless list), without orientation by means of a signaling system which, in addition to everything, permeates a note of identity to the place that is georeferencing.

Wayfinding "finding the way"

And such is the need for Wayfinding «finding the way», «orientation» or «navigation» that multiple disciplines converge in this, that have made this practice at the forefront of the needs of today’s man.

Since advances in technology, science and even psychology, are key elements when making the designs, creations, and location of the orientation by means of signage. Making part of the daily life of everyone and everything.

Another point to take into account is the globalization of the planet, which today has increased exponentially, and is that 50 years ago trips were not so common, since they referred to a high cost for ordinary people and for therefore, they were not so affordable, also, money and purchasing power were concentrated or segregated in certain percentages of the population, which made business trips only occur in senior executives and pleasure trips in people who really they could afford them.

Today all that is the leftover of something that was and remained precisely in the past, since the internet, technology, digitization, social networks, brought the world closer together, bringing with them new ways to monetize any activity, product, brand, or service, globalizing many practices and making it possible to access things that were previously reserved for a few.

Globalization began to demand the use of user-friendly orientation designs (symbols, graphics, etc.) which can be interpreted by anyone, regardless of their country of origin, culture, or language. Creating in the process a universal language.

Then in a flat way we could indicate that these orientation systems are normally combined by signs, maps, symbols, colors, and other communications. So, it is not strange to find new technologies such as mobile applications, digital screens, or augmented reality integrated in them.

In other words, Wayfinding is an orientation and mobility process formed by perception, cognition and the interaction between people and the physical environment. Which, as we have already expressed throughout this blog, is necessary, since this system allows visitors to a venue to build a mental map to simplify their movement within an unknown and known space, allowing them to instantly resolve mentally inquiries.

Where am I? and how do I go to my destination? questions we all have when moving from one point to another, without the Wayfinding, going to the bus stop would be a total odyssey.

Related Posts

One thought on “Wayfinding History

Comments are closed.