Wayfinding (signage)

Coined by architect Kevin Lynch in 1960, wayfinding is a term used to describe the audio, visual, and tactile elements that guide people to their destinations. Wayfinding elements at Azusa Pacific University include personal communication, architecture, landscape, hardscape, signs, and maps.

The Offices of Construction and Operational Planning, Facilities Management, and University Relations partner to coordinate the university's wayfinding system. Wayfinding includes architectural cues, customer pathways, signs, maps, and personal communication. Representatives from these areas meet regularly to establish and review plans, policies, and procedures.


To report a problem, email the following information to University Relations at universityrelations@apu.edu:

  1. Provide a description of the problem (i.e., Why do customers/visitors consistently report an inability to find your area?).
  2. Describe intervention attempts: How have you attempted to communicate your location (i.e., via phone, email, printed materials, etc.)?
  3. What wayfinding elements currently exist for your area?
  4. How would you like to improve the way your customers/visitors find your area?

A member of the wayfinding design group will contact you to discuss your report and outline an intervention strategy.

Policies and Standards

Personal Communication

Communication between each APU community member and visitor is the initial and primary element of wayfinding. The tools referenced below have been created to enhance the visitor’s experience at the university, not to replace it. Visitors often prefer relational contact even when maps, signs, etc. are properly implemented. As a result, employees are expected to be ready to assist visitors as they seek campus locations. When assisting visitors, employees should reference the following wayfinding elements.


The following sign types are used on university properties to lend direction to campus visitors. They are listed in the order that they are used by visitors to affirm their directional choices. All wayfinding signs use fonts within the Helvetica family. Helvetica regular is used unless otherwise noted. A horizontal brick red band is used as a design element across the top of all campus directional signage to create visual congruency among these elements.

Street Signs

The most prevalent form of wayfinding, street signs will be implemented on APU campuses to provide a seamless transition between city and university properties. Street signs will be sized to fit within city guidelines for this sign type. Street names will be included on campus maps.


Monument signs contain the APU logo, are placed to signify campus entrances, and are arranged to beckon visitors onto the university grounds.

Building Identification

Named buildings on campus are identified through aluminum channel lettering with internal illumination when appropriate. Helvetica Black and Helvetica Black Oblique are the fonts used for signs seen from city properties. Helvetica Bold is used for signs with on-campus views. Letter sizes range from between 9” and 24” in height in proportion to the building face of installation.

Campus Directories

Directory map kiosks are located in key locations on APU properties. Buildings and key areas are presented relative to the visitor’s and directory’s position on campus.

Directional Signs

Directional signs are located throughout APU properties on vehicular and pedestrian pathways. The most prominent campus locations within their proximity are included on panels with a vinyl adhesive letter application.

Building Directories

Building directories are sometimes used at the entrances to large or complex buildings.

Location Signs

Location signs indicate entrances to functional areas of the university. The university is meeting ADA specifications in all new projects. In areas of high weather impact, aluminum plaques or blades are used with vinyl adhesive lettering. In protected areas, sign frames are installed with changeable inserts of high gloss medium weight laser photo paper.


In addition to the maps found in directories, the following maps are also used as wayfinding devices.

Master Maps

Master maps are kept on electronic file in University Relations. Changes are continually made to these maps as areas move and construction projects are completed. All other map applications are drawn from these master files.

Online maps (PDF)

Online maps are published on www.apu.edu as wayfinding tools for employees and visitors. They offer directions to the various university locations and details about specific locations at the main campus in Azusa: Download a Campus Map (PDF).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is wayfinding?

Coined by architect Kevin Lynch in 1960, wayfinding is a term used to describe the audio, visual, and tactile elements that guide people to their destinations. Wayfinding elements at Azusa Pacific University include personal communication, architecture, landscape, hardscape, signs, and maps.

How do we communicate our office’s new location?

When you move, the campus maps and signs will be updated at the prompting of the Space Planning Committee. To keep costs as low as possible, updates are made in sets, so they may not coincide exactly with your move. In addition to these elements, University Relations would like to help you communicate your new location to your customers through postcard mailings and web announcements.

Why don’t we have street signs on campus?

We have submitted a proposal to install street signs for the Azusa campus to help offices and departments guide visitors to their locations. We will post an announcement on this site when they are implemented.

What’s the best way to direct someone to a place on campus?

When communicating with someone from off campus by phone or email, use street directions and point them to APU's online campus map.

When someone on campus asks you for directions, it is best to walk with him/her to the destination. If that is not possible and the person has a printed map, draw a line for from the current location to the destination. If the visitor does not have a map, give verbal directions using street names, building names, and landmarks.

Who can help me find a sign that isn’t for wayfinding?

If your proposed sign communicates a facility or property management need, contact Facilities Management. If your proposed sign is for a promotional purpose, please fill complete this (project initiation form).

Who should I contact if a sign/map/directory is in need of care (cleaning, maintenance, etc.)?

The Office of Facilities Management is responsible for maintaining the campus facilities, including wayfinding hardware. Please place a work order with them regarding the issue.

How do wayfinding signs differ from other signs?

Wayfinding signs include street signs, directional signs, and location signs, and they exist to guide people to specific destinations. They are not in place for publicity, identity, or communications purposes. However, if these are your goals, let us know; we offer many services to meet your needs.