Guidepost cells are known to alter the behavior of growth cones in vivo, yet the nature of communication and the type of signals employed are largely undefined. The present study demonstrates that model guideposts, composed of a single molecular species, are sufficient to change the navigation and the behavior of advancing growth cones well beyond the time of contact. Laminin on model guideposts caused a sustained increase in growth cone velocity, whereas fibronectin led to a sustained decrease. A spatially discrete array of multiple laminin-model guideposts maintained increased growth rates on fibronectin, as expected for homogeneous laminin, and also provided unambiguous directional guidance information. Laminin-evoked growth cone responses required activation of protein kinase C-dependent intracellular signalling mechanisms.