Photo: Ron Mader, La Paz = Peace (Some rights reserved)

Visitors expect to find helpful directions – online and on the ground. Orientation is key.

Good signage obeys three simple rules:

1) The information is clear.
2) The information is accurate.
3) The information is where the visitor is looking.

Confusing, obsolete or hard-to-find information leads visitors to question the entire enterprise.

Red flags are displaying a good sign where the traveler is NOT looking or displaying ambiguous information where the visitor is looking.

Woe be the hotel that goes unnoticed because its own signage is too wimpy.

Bonus points for bilingual signs!

Effective Signage
Effective signage demonstrates a commitment to improved communication among locals and visitors.

Signage — signs, posters, bulletin boards, highway markers, restaurant menus, brochure racks — educates and minimizes confusion.

Individual businesses need to promote themselves well and collaborate with local and national government campaigns. This is a great idea though sometimes difficult to make real.

Whether maintaining national parks or establishing information kiosks or visitor centers, the best facilities are proactive. They keep travel information up-to-date and acquire materials from local businesses.

For those creating signage
Make a good first impression!

Educate the traveler with locator maps. Do not assume they know where you are!. If you preparing a brochure or website, show the visitor where you operate. You can post a map online or link to Google Maps or other online services which provide additional layers of engagement.

People Have Different Needs
It’s a simple fact. Travelers have different expectations and desires. They speak different languages. And effective signage needs to address multiple audiences.

What language do the signs need to be written? Ideally, the signs should be multilingual, capable of being understood by foreigners and locals alike.

For example, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, archaeological sites have markers in Spanish, English, and Zapotec languages. In the Yucat√°n Peninsula, signage is in Spanish, English, and Maya.

Incorporating Feedback
Tip for locals – If a visitor says that a sign is confusing, listen without taking offense. Ask for suggestions. Implement the changes that work best.

Tip— Problems with graffiti? Place the sign where it is less likely to be vandalized without compromising its visibility.

Signage Musts

  • Name of business
  • Open hours
  • Phone number, social web accounts
  • Slogan (optional)

Elsewhere on the Web
World Signs Gallery

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