Signs, shops, lighting; airports have a reason behind every design

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It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to navigate their way across humongous, crowded airports, that too in a different country than the parent one.
Especially, if it is your first trip to a city, meandering through airports can be confusing and endearing.


People from all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures and countries walk the roads inside these massive structures every single day. So, if there are so many varied stakeholders, the airports have to have some basics right. Some signs that make you feel the balance, the commonality and the ease that will help you navigate your way.

Airports have been designed with all these issues in mind. Here are some of them –

Visibility of the tarmac
One of the foremost things that people want at airports is easy navigation. Travelers should be able to get from security to their gate without getting lost. In many new airports, big windows help passengers get a view of the tarmac directly with planes lined up. Gives them a sense of the orientation and direction that they need to move in.

The way you walk and shop
All airport walkways usually curve to the left, because of the preference that humans have towards that direction.
The shops are then strategically placed on the right, so that the passengers get a clear view of the shops.

Signage lingo
In 75% of all airports, one of the following is the preferred type of writing style – Helvetica, Frutiger or Clearview. The unofficial rule for size is that every inch of letter height adds 40 feet of viewing distance.

Wide spaces are by design
Safety at airports is essential and hence big wide clear places for passengers to move around in. Gives security better view and CCTV’s can capture more footage.

Lighting and colour designing
A person travels for various reasons. The mindsets can be dissimilar too. In such a situation, colours play an important role. Light calming colours comfort a person. Bright yet warm colours can also be used.
Natural light is integral yet should not be too harsh. Passengers travel through time zones and as such the light modulation is always key at airports.

Single queue is easy
A single line, when everyone is in a hurry, puts the human brain at ease. There is no sense of competition that one line is moving faster than your own.
There is a sense of fairness and this helps settle the mind.

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