When you look for a company to design your wayfinding/wayfaring system, make sure you issue a Request for Qualifications, not a Request for Proposal (See more about Wayfinding RFQs here). You can issue an RFQ in just a page or two, then select the best of the best and then negotiate with them. Ask what their methodology is, have provide you a sample scope of work, project examples, and references. Let them know what you want included in your wayfinding system. Elements often include:
– Vehicular wayfinding
– Pedestrian wayfinding in downtown core areas
– Trail system wayfinding
– Pole banners (sometimes seasonal)
– Visitor information kiosks
– Community and downtown gateways
– Place signage (marquee signage at parks, attractions and public facilities like parking, public restrooms, city hall, etc.)
– Working with state/provincial transportation agencies for freeway and highway signage changes and/or additions.
Once you get their qualifications, pick the top three and interview them. If you don’t like their work, their methodology, or price, then go to number two on the list.
You are looking for a company that specializes in exterior wayfinding, which is an entirely different discipline than “institutional wayfinding” – directional signage in a hospital, mall, college campus or other large buildings or campuses.
Once you select the best company for your particular project, make sure they design the system to a pre-determined budget, which may include some phasing. You can spend a million dollars on a gateway or $20,000. Always start with a budget. That will also determine how much the company will charge you. The more creative or custom the system is, the higher the price for both design and fabrication.
We don’t have a comprehensive list of reputable wayfinding companies, but here are a few (our list of favorites) to get you started:
Based out of Wellington, FL
Cloud Gehshan Associations
Based out of Philadelphia, PA
Based out of Traverse City, MI
Based out of West Chester, PA
Based out of Pasadena, CA
Based out of Portland, OR
Based out of New York City