Uniting with Wayfinding

AAI Focus

January 16, 2018

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January - March 2018

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With a mission to unite the various airports under AAI from a design perspective and to provide a unifying brand image along with easing the stress of travel for the passengers, AAI is planning to improve and develop its wayfinding signage.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to improve the passenger experience throughout the terminals at their airports. The aim is to create a hassle free environment for the passengers who might find it challenging to navigate through vast airports or who find the whole process of travelling a bit daunting.

AAI’s aim is to create a process that will design and disseminate customer-centric information and to implement a wayfinding system, which will cover the entire passenger journey, right from parking to boarding the aircraft.

For improvement of operational efficiency and customer service at AAI airports and improvement of non-standard signage, AAI, under the banner of Project DISHA (Development Initiative for Self -reliance & Human Advancement) has embarked on consultancy work to spearhead wayfinding designs at 10 airports. These airports include Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Trivandrum, Coimbatore, Varanasi, Guwahati and Goa.

The objective of this wayfinding design specialist consultancy assignment includes overall audit of existing signage, identifying deficiency or weaknesses, new design and solution. Following that this consultation also aims to look at the process of implementation at pilot airports, training, preparation of manual etc., thus leading to improved efficiency and better airport service quality rating. The AAI is stressing upon ensuring that the newly proposed wayfinding signage system will be modern, clearly visible and of international standards. The new signage will also take into consideration all other aspects like reflecting the brand image of AAI with proposed colours schemes of respective airports, fonts, locations, etc.

Special icons have been developed for standardisation of the signs

Special icons have been developed for standardisation of the signs

Key Features of New System:

While finalising the wayfinding system for the airports, a number of key factors will have to be considered.

Coordinating the wayfinding signage with the architecture of the airport is critical. Clear and legible marking for entrance, exit, etc., falls under this factor.

The next factor is the use of multilingual signs. While multilingual signage is common at AAI airports, there is scope of improvement in standardising typefaces and ensuring a consistency among all AAI airports.

Following that a selecting and implementing a consistent and distinct colour scheme will have a major impact on creating a recognisable brand image for AAI.

Lastly, wayfinding signage should utilise the opportunity to improve communication and use intuitive signs to create a signature design that will give passengers a sense of place as they enter the airport space. The signs should ideally instil a sense of identity at the AAI airports that makes the passengers feel connected with the brand of AAI.

The development of the wayfinding strategy is divided into three categories – travel specific signs, signs of facilities/amenities and standardising terminology.

Information Hierarchy

  1. Primary information, which marks the critical path of travel for visitors (departures, arrivals, etc.) will have the largest font size and a high contrast ratio
  2. Secondary information, which mark additional facilities needed by the user (like toilets) will have lower contrast ratio compared to the primary information
  3. Exit signs, which mark all escape points out of the airport, will have a green background and white font or vice versa
  4. Exterior signs, which mark road directions, parking, etc., will have separate identity colour, but appropriate contrast ratio



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