The National Trust is a large organisation that has created numerous trails around the country.
On their website, they say:
Wayfinding signs play a vital part in making every visit as enjoyable as possible. With good signs, people can find their way around with the minimum of fuss, and feel happily at home. Without them, visitors feel disorientated, frustrated or unwelcome.
They sum up:
Signs at National Trust places should be:
Inviting, welcoming, guiding visitors — never bossy or negative.
They go on to say that signs should only be placed in a needed location. They do not need lots of signs cluttering the area, when one would have sufficed. You have to think: Is this sign necessary? Will this aid someone who otherwise might have been confused without this signs presence? Or it just an extra frilling? Information design, especially wayfinding, is functional. Signs should only be there if they are helpful and communicative.
The National Trust also have a section dedicated how to design wayfinding signs, which was incredibly helpful for my research.
Make signs unobtrusive but legible
They explain that signs should be as small as possible, so not to be in the way. This, however, might mean that they overlooked. A good balance is obviously necessary. The National Trust also says to create posts and signs from natural material when possible. After undergoing a Green Design module, I agree with this wholeheartedly that it is important to be sustainable when you are given the option. No matter how small, this leads to a better future.
They also press to keep a consistent branding throughout the signs: a dark green and the National Trust Bold typeface should appear.
This was an interesting thought, which I hadn't considered before. And yet it is sensible. The National Trust say: "Signs at main points of entry and visitor centres should show the Trust logo (oak leaf and logotype). But beyond that point, it’s best not to over brand.” They press, however, that every sign should use the National Trust Bold typeface, while most should also include the logo. This will make the signs identifiable to this brand without pushing it onto the viewer.
Recognise partner organisations
They mention that when other organisations are involved on your property, this must be taken into account, perhaps by displaying their logo next to yours.
They write: "Write in sentence case, not capitals. Make the text left-justified, not centred. No extra letterspacing (kerning)." This will make their signs look inviting while giving their brand a friendly impression.
Use symbols sensibly
They write: "When it helps, use symbols for things like toilets, disabled access or car park. In most cases, the symbol says enough on its own: in a few cases, you may need to add text alongside it. Use only internationally recognised symbols, and keep them to a minimum."
They say that language should be informal, positive and simple. They say that information signs should be: "As straightforward as possible. Don’t try to say everything, or the sign becomes confusing. Stick to short phrases, avoiding if you can the need for full stops."