SYC Chapter

Chapter Chairs

Carlo Giannasca, Frost*collective
Carlo Giannasca
Nick Bannikoff, Design Manager at Brandculture, Sydney
Nick Bannikoff
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SEGD Award Winning Projects

Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill, Holy Cow! Design & Advertising
Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill
Prince of Wales Hospital, Minale, Tattersfield, Bryce & Partners
Prince of Wales Hospital
Bushells Tea Warehouse Signage, Dimension Data, Emery Vincent Design
Bushells Tea Warehouse Signage
QT Sydney
QT Sydney
University of Technology, Sydney, BrandCulture Communications
University of Technology, Sydney
Frost*bite, Sydney Opera House

Sydney, Australia Blog

Last month, SEGD held its second event for Sydney’s experiential design community – a fascinating discussion about transforming University of Technology Sydney (UTS) into a smart campus. If you missed it, here’s an excerpt…

The panellists were: Bryce Hutchinson, UTS; Nick Bannikoff, BrandCulture; Bruce Duyshart, Meld Strategies; Steve Plummer, Pam Wayfinding; Nigel O’Connell, Displayground; moderated by Stephen Minning, BrandCulture and Pam Wayfinding.

SM: Bryce, tell us about the UTS $1+ billion master plan in terms of your wayfinding objectives?

BH: In 2013, Frost*Collective completed a signage manual, and then BrandCulture won the tender as head consultant for wayfinding implementation.

This was a unique opportunity for UTS. Existing signage was over 10 years old so we wanted a new wayfinding system that would represent industry best practice, and match the university’s strategic vision.

Unfortunately, the scope of work was not simple. There were four new buildings, 14 existing buildings, and major refurbishments. You can understand how difficult it was keeping design documentation up-to-date with so much changing.

SM: Why key issues did you identify?

BH: The biggest issue was signage clutter. We did lots of student testing, and the main complaint was that there was too much signage, and it was overwhelming. We had a lot of redundant signage – universities are big organisations, and when someone changes their name, for instance, that name might appear on 20 signs across campus. We had no way of tracking this easily.

Asset management and naming conventions quickly became important to us. We needed a much better solution for quality control, defects inspections, tracking costs and invoices. BrandCulture developed a fantastic interface for this.

An early sketch of Alumni Green, by landscape architects McGregor Coxall.

SM: Nick, tell us how BrandCulture approached the signage implementation?

NB: We had over 110 floor plans to audit, and 46 new floor plans to design. It was a hugely complex project that required some smart solutions so that, at the very least, we could keep our sanity!

UTS is a technology-focussed university, and finding smart solutions is part of their brand and cultural DNA. The solution that sprang to mind was a digital one. We decided to create a proprietary system that was bespoke to UTS, which we could outsource to suppliers and stakeholders – a cloud-based platform for cross-referencing photos, notes and sign details, which is now called PAM Wayfinding.

SM: Is all the information relating to physical, digital and mobile wayfinding connected somewhere?

NB: Yes, by doing everything through PAM, it means UTS has a single source of truth for their databases to come together in.

SM: Bruce, can you take us through your digital wayfinding vision?

BD: The challenge for us was to make the campus smarter for lecturers and students getting to class. We did some in-depth user group interviews with everyone from international students, to campus security, to develop a clear picture of how technology might work for them.

We realised we needed to address the issue of accessibility – in 2014, there were 1,200 UTS students who identified as having a broad spectrum of disabilities, and our research showed the iPhone as the option that worked for everyone.

This helped us establish an information architecture concept: we wanted signs to be able to interact with people’s smart phones to support people from one location to the next.

SM: UTS has 65 different sign types. How did you work out which sign types could integrate technology most effectively?

BD: We created options to cover all bases, which meant introducing QR codes, NFC chips, beacons, WAP, Wi-Fi access points and security cameras, which made physical signage and totems much smarter. The next challenge was bringing the information in PAM through to people’s iPhones. PAM developed a microsite, which you can access with QR codes or NFC chips, without downloading an app.

BH: It’s worth noting the initial scope was for physical signage only, but Stephen got an idea and ran with it and really pushed for technology-focused signage, which we saw the value of.

SM: Steve, can you tell us about PAM’s role in implementing smart technology across campus?

SP: We went through a series of trials to find out if our solution was meeting people’s needs. By putting wayfinding in people’s pockets on their phones, we could share the 5,000 pieces of information we had stored in PAM about where people and places are located at UTS.

PAM was developed in collaboration with UTS and its project stakeholders. It sits in the middle and brings all the mapping, audit images, floor plans and notes together, creating a single source of truth for building management and the FM database. By bringing the physical and digital together, it creates a live wayfinding CMS for the whole university.

Interactive displays using big data, now being developed by Displayground.

SM: Nigel, you’ve been working with UTS also. Can you take us through your involvement?

NO: A few years ago, UTS approached Displayground to install some new displays. Stephen showed me examples of generative data visualisation, like the work of Refik Anadol in San Francisco, which takes data and turns it into art. For UTS, we wanted to take their new branding, which they’ve based around big data, and have a play with it to see what we could achieve. The idea is to create interactive displays that use big data to connect into the UTS brand.

‘Navigating the Smart Campus’ is an SEGD Sydney Chapter event, which took place on 15th November at WeWork, Martin Place.


Nick Bannikoff and Carlo Giannasca recently spoke to InDesign about why they’re on a mission to build a strong community of experiential designers in Australia. 

Earlier this year, Nick Bannikoff (BrandCulture) and Carlo Giannasca (Urbanite) announced they were bringing the Society of Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) to Sydney. They spoke to InDesign candidly about the rise of experiential design (UX) and how the blending of graphics, wayfinding and interiors can make for better-branded workplace/retail fitouts.

Nick Bannikoff: Many people still think ‘experiential design’ means logos on walls. How do you define what we do?  

Carlo Giannasca: From our perspective, experiential design is about adding elements to a space that create moments of surprise or joy – it’s often an intangible, indefinable X factor.  I don’t think you can underplay the value of what we do as creatives who enhance people’s wellbeing through environmental and wayfinding design. If you’re designing a space that’s pleasant to be in, people are happier to come to work – and that elevates the company’s brand.

NB: The experiential design community is probably larger than we think it is here in Australia. We have interior, graphic, wayfinding and experiential designers, architects and fabricators, but we’ve also got exhibition, event and set designers – we could all benefit from collaborating more.

CG: Definitely. Australian designers have an amazing pedigree in creating experiential design pieces. We should celebrate that.

If we’re engaged at the same time as architects and interior designers, we can create really amazing, embedded brand expressions where you really can’t tell where the interior design or architecture ends, and the branded graphic expressions start. The whole thing feels like one complete creative piece. For me, that’s the ideal.

NB: A big part of our role is explaining to clients that the connection to brand can be very subtle – no one wants to see a logo blinking at them every day of the week. Some brand custodians are still very protective. They might not realise that the brand designer was more focussed on print and digital media than how it might be applied in the built environment. Yet the most successful workplace schemes we’ve developed are those where the branding is embedded into the interior architecture and isn’t too overt.

CG: It’s always a collaboration. We’re not trying to fight against what architects create, we want to enhance their work. We usually kick off a project by asking the client to express how they see their brand. Typical questions are: ‘Someone walks into your office or space. What do you want them to think about your organisation? How do you want them to feel when they walk into a space?’ Getting them to articulate those emotional and rational responses helps them think from an end user perspective, rather than being very dictatorial about their brand.

NB: I think the connection between wayfinding and wellbeing is also really interesting. If you’re in an airport or hospital and you have trouble finding where you want to go, that’s a really stressful predicament.

CG: Wayfinding empowers the end user by giving them the tools they need to get from A to B in the quickest, least stressful way possible. No one likes to get lost, unless you’re on holiday wandering the back lanes of some European city.

NB: I don’t mind getting lost on holidays. I’ll walk out the front door of a hotel or train station, and think, ‘That looks interesting – let’s go’. When I’m designing wayfinding systems for a large environment like a university or campus, I often start off with that approach – I just walk around for a couple of hours and see where it leads me. Getting lost can be a very good design tool.

CG: One trend I’m noticing is a much stronger emphasis on designing with the end user in mind. I am seeing requirements emerge that mandate the need to demonstrate a methodology for testing design work – interviews, surveys and lo-fi prototyping are inevitably going to become an important part of the formal design process. Then if it’s not working, fine-tune it.

NB: I agree – our government clients have really started to pick up on the importance of having an evaluation process. It’s about saying: ‘Okay, we’ve made these assumptions. Now let’s actually talk to people afterwards and find out what the truth of the matter is.’ Most of the time we get it right, thankfully!

CG: When I judged the SEGD Awards in Washington this year, I was struck by the strength of the community of experiential designers there. There’s no sense that everyone is protecting their patch, or trying not to give away trade secrets. There’s a willingness to share ideas – which lifts the whole game I think.

NB: In my experience, whenever you get people in our industry together they’re excited to speak with somebody who actually understands the intricacies of signage plans and arrow types and layout grids. There is a real enthusiasm to connect and discuss.

CG: There’s also an opportunity to really elevate our profession, because experiential design is very important to the outcome of built projects. What we do is just as valid as what an architect or interior designer does – we are part of the puzzle that brings successful urban projects into being. That should be celebrated.

Nick Bannikoff is Design Manager at BrandCulture, while Carlo Giannasca is the Head of Environments at Urbanite. Read the original article here

Last month, Sydney’s experiential design community came together to celebrate the launch of the inaugural SEGD Sydney Chapter.

Nick Bannikoff, Design Manager at BrandCulture and Carlo Giannasca, Head of Environments at Urbanite (Frost*Collective) – Co-Chairs of the SEGD Sydney Chapter – invited designers, architects and suppliers to share their ideas for building a stronger experiential design community here in Sydney.

Carlo kicked things off by saying the new Sydney Chapter is one of 30 SEGD (Society for Experiential Graphic Design) Chapters globally.

“We’re proud to be starting a local chapter in Sydney – it’s a small profession here but I think we’re very passionate and we want to foster that ability to build connections that help us all,” he said.

“The purpose tonight is to talk about how we can grow the community together and talk about some of the events we have planned.”

Nick Bannikoff, BrandCulture’s Design Manager, thanked everyone for braving the cold to talk about experiential and wayfinding design.

“SEGD was founded to help people collaborate and build partnerships within industry,” he said.

Of course here in the Antipodes, it can be hard to get time off to attend events in the United States, which inspired the launch of SEGD’s Sydney chapter.

“We wanted to get together tonight to find out what you want: what events would you like to attend? How should we be going about it as an organisation?”

He and Carlo are planning to host three kinds of events for Sydney’s experiential design community: events that educate; events that celebrate our industry’s achievements; and social events.

“Obviously we’re an industry which is undergoing radical change, so who should we talk to? Who’s doing something exciting and new? What can we learn from the people that manufacturers are collaborating with? We’d love to hear your recommendations,” said Nick.

At the annual SEGD Awards in the US, Australia wins more awards per capita than any other country. “We do amazing work here. So in February next year, we’d love to give SEGD winners in Australia and New Zealand the chance talk about those projects and celebrate what we achieve. What were the trials and tribulations? What didn’t go through? How can we learn from each other as an industry?”

He also thanked Singleton Moore Signs for generously sponsoring the inaugural SEGD Sydney chapter event.

Of course, the success of the SEGD Sydney Chapter ultimately depends on what the local Sydney design community makes of it! So, Nick and Carlo would love your ideas and suggestions so that together, we can make our industry stronger.


Get in touch by emailing [email protected] or via SEGD’s Sydney chapter page.



We’re excited to announce the first stand-alone event for the SEGD Sydney Chapter

This is the event you can attend without dreading the question ‘What do you do?’ Catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and shamelessly discuss wayfinding and experiential graphic design.

Co-Chairs Carlo and Nick will be outlining the events that the SEGD Sydney Chapter has planned for the year ahead, and will canvass the crowd for your opinions, suggestions, thought-bubbles and involvement.

We’re a small profession in Sydney, but are passionate and achieve great things. We want to foster that ability, and build connections that benefit us all, this is your chance to help us achieve it.

We’re keen to have as many people included as possible, so invite your studio members, clients, in fact anyone you know who may have an interest in SEGD.

We’re thrilled to announce this event is sponsored by Singleton Moore Signs who will generously be providing light refreshments.

Where: Mr. Fox, 557 Crown St, Surry Hills
When:  Thursday, 24th August at 6.30pm.
Ticketing: This is a free event. SEGD members are guaranteed access, but it’s a small venue so visitors are on a first-booked-first-served basis.

RSVP to secure your spot



On the 16th of February 2017 the new SEGD Sydney Chapter was announced at one of the starting events for the SEGD OFF GRID 17 Conference in New Zealand held at the Frost*collective.

"We are very excited to announce the start of a new Australian chapter" said John Lutz SEGD's president, who attended and made the announcement "Australia has the largest SEGD membership of our 35 international countries"

The new chapter will work together with the Brisbane Chapter to develop SEGD Australia's community. It will be lead by Carlo Giannasca of Urbanite, a part of the Frost*Collective and Nick Bannikoff of BrandCulture. A first event is already being planned. Details to follow shortly.

Clive Roux, CEO of SEGD said "the quality of work that comes out of Australia is outstanding and the country has won the most international SEGD Global Design Awards so it stands to reason that we should be creating a community in Sydney."

SEGD's presence in the region is growing as are the activities. If you just missed the OFF GRID 17 event hosted and produced by the SEGD Wellington, New Zealand chapter.

Stephen Minning, an SEGD international Board member was instrumental in getting the chapter off the ground and said "this is really exciting! Sydney has a large design community already that would greatly benefit from a stronger connection to SEGD internationally to experience the warmth and openness of the community as I have been able to."

If you are not an SEGD member already, sign up today to receive all the digital benefits of SEGD membership, which includes access to over 200 videos from SEGD's events over the past 3 years. "It is like being there in person hearing all the talks about the new practice methods and how the various EGD Designers work" said Clive Roux "You can't find content like this anywhere else and it delivers you $3250 worth of member benefits every year - for free."


SEGD is the smallest, friendliest, most open design association. Join and find out what community really means!.