Monday, August 29, 2011

Taking Direction - Push/Pull Wayfinding

With so many different requirements for signs in a busy and well traveled facility, it’s easy to overwhelm people with information overload. Identifying a specific sign, with a specific purpose in a specific location can be taxing and often leads to sticking any ol’ sign on the wall and hoping for the best. Imitating Picaso in a sign design may be worst yet.

A few years back, I installed a rather large directory at a library, that had been designed to fit into the upscale and elaborate decor. The directory was made from thick frosted glass and brushed stainless steel. Text and graphics were a mix of applied vinyl and screen ink, topped off by a color coding system that resembled a rainbow. The directory was heavy and very expensive, but a rather attractive piece of wall art.

After two hours spent installing the directory, I decided to sit and watch, from a distance, peoples reaction to the directory and the effectiveness of its’ intent to direct. Each individual that stopped to view the directory stood for a moment staring, then turned to the Security Guard standing by the directory and asked “Do you know where _______ Is?”

With a little planning and perhaps a bit less artistic influence, signs can and should pull an individual from point A to point B, not leave them standing and wondering.†

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