Healthcare Signage Design: A Review on Recommendations for Effective Signing Systems

HERD. 2019 Jul;12(3):45-65. doi: 10.1177/1937586718814822. Epub 2018 Dec 3.


This article provides a set of recommendations, selected from the systematic literature review carried out, regarding signage systems for healthcare institutions that can be used for designing or redesigning more competent signage systems. The signage systems in healthcare settings are usually poorly designed due to the expansion of the original facilities, a lack of awareness of existing guidelines by the developers, and a lack of agreement between the existing recommendations. There are several guidelines and recommendations available in the literature; however, each work was developed for specific cultural contexts, so there is a lack of uniformity among them. Hence, there is a need to uniformize the guidelines for signage design in healthcare, in order to provide supportive information for developers to build and implement effective and efficient signage systems. This study examined the available literature on the subject and established a set of guidelines organized in categories to help the design process. A literature review was conducted, and 34 selected publications were analyzed from which recommendations were created. A best practices manual was also studied and used as the analytical framework to establish the design categories of the developed recommendations. This review resulted in guidelines divided into nine design categories that should be considered in the design and implementation process of signage systems in healthcare facilities.

Keywords: design; healthcare environment; healthcare facilities; signage systems; user perception; wayfinding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Facilities / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings
  • Location Directories and Signs / standards*