The Genomic Age

Jury Award

"The Genomic Age" is a fictitious outdoor exhibition in New York City's Union Square Park, open to the general public; the exhibition focuses on the social impact of genetic research, making scientific research in the field accessible and understandable to people of every age group. The exhibition is divided into five categories: Gene Therapy & Medical Treatments, Our Genetic Identity: The Human Genome, Genetic Research: Laboratory Technologies, Reshaping our Environment: Genetically Modified Organisms, and Our Future: Ethics & Predictions.

Focusing on the wayfinding for this exhibition, several considerations became apparent. New York is an extremely diverse city. The location calls for a design which functions in an outdoor environment and complements the park's natural element. Also, the subject matter calls for a strong visual identity to tie together the five interest areas.

While an iconographic approach makes orientation easier for international visitors, the use of bright primary colors makes interest areas instantly distinguishable and recognizable in the outdoor environment. Interest area signage is paired with directional signage or the exhibition logo, either to point the visitor in the direction or mark the location of a certain area. This modular approach, in which panels can be paired in any combination, is cost-efficient and flexible. The panel pairs are mounted on seven-by-two foot lightweight aluminum pylons. Due to their open form in the shape of a double helix, they do not obstruct the view of the park, conserving the recreational atmosphere. The wayfinding system imitates the structure of DNA and creates an identity for the exhibition, reflected in the logo mark.

Jury Comments: 

"Unique and easy to understand icons allow for a more diverse group of consumers to interact with the signs. The open form panel pair pylons allow for clean sight lines and minimal obstruction of the park view." "This project provided a unique and innovative approach to wayfinding. The modular system provided great flexibility in interchanging the various communication requirements while remaining functionally unique."

Design Firm: 

Christian Marc Schmidt


Parsons School of Design

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Design Team: 



Lance Wyman (instructor)



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