How Do Tourists Interpret Signage?


Tourists visit attractions like parks, museums, and conventions every day. When you have never been some place before, you rely on signage to help you figure out where to go and where not to go. Different content on different signs can mean different things to different people. How you might interpret signs may not be how someone visiting from Malaysia might interpret those same signs.

Most sign interpretation depends on four main factors:

  • Placement or sign distribution
  • Height of the sign
  • Design, the sign's aesthetics
  • Theme or sign content


Where you put the sign matters. How you distribute those signs can make the difference whether a tourist turns in the correct direction or in the wrong direction. Signs that are too close can get your visitor confused as to why the sign is repeated so often. Too far apart, and your tourist may not understand which way to turn through an attraction or building. You want your signs at natural stopping points on your guest's journey.

Sign Height

Signs should be at the average adult's eye level. If you are at a children's museum, for instance, signs would be placed at both adult eye level and at a child's eye level. If you are on a scenic trip and stop to look through a telescope on the top of a cliff, you may see signage that is lower and placed so that you can see the view. Make sure that signs also accommodate those in wheelchairs.


The design of a sign can stop a visitor in his tracks depending on its readability and shape. If a sign is about a zoo's bear exhibit, you may see a more child-like design in the shape of a bear. If you are at a convention center, you might notice that the signage is coordinated in color and more plain. Keep your sign's font readable.

What the Sign Says

Content is king when it comes to signage. You want your signs to be readable to those whose first language isn't English. Plain, simple language is best. After all, you're usually conveying information in as few words as possible.

Other Considerations: Lighting and Tourist Volume

If your sign is outdoors, keep it out of the sun's glare. Not only does glare make your sign difficult to read, it also fades the signage faster, which means replacement. If your sign's are indoors, you can still get glare from your indoor lighting. You will also want to consider rooms and objects that cast shadows on signs. Finally, make sure that your signs are easily viewed when your visitor volume amps up. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to glean sign information when too many people are in a room making it difficult to see.

For more information, contact companies like Davis Sign Co.


16 February 2017

Creating Better Employee Policies

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