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What is Experiential Graphic Design

What is Experiential Graphic Design? [XGD]

By Peter Dixon

Experiential Graphic Design involves the orchestration of typography, color, imagery, form, technology and, especially, content to create environments that communicate.

Examples of Experiential Graphic Design include wayfinding systems,architectural graphics, signageand sign programs, exhibit design,retail design,and themed or branded spaces. Increasingly XGD involves the use of digital technologies and systems that present dynamic content through motion graphics and make possible rich interactions between a user in a place and the information being provided.

Operating at the intersection of communications and the built environment, the field embraces a wide range of disciplines including graphic design, architectural, interior, landscape, digital and industrial design.

The history of the field, also called “environmental graphic design,” is rooted in the earliest forms of graphic communications such as cave paintings and examples of  “environments that communicate” can be seen in the use of hieroglyphics in ancient temples, the stained glass of cathedrals, and in today’s hyper-communicative places such as the Ginza district of Tokyo and New York City’s Times Square.

The practitioners of the discipline of Experiential Graphic Design in recent years have set the standards for wayfindingin transportation centers(airports, railway and subway stations), hospitals,museums and on city streets and highways. Learning and immersive environments such as museum exhibitions, and public, civic and landscape place-making programs have benefited from the multi-disciplinary talents of designers to shape experiences that orient, inform, educate and delight users and visitors.

Retail stores, entertainment and hospitality destinations–theme parks, hotels, casinos, sports venues, shopping malls– and other “branded environments” are using the tools and story-telling approaches of XGD to create more engaging and meaningful interactions with their customers.

See the SEGD Presentation, What is Experiential Graphic Designfor a visual tour of the field.

More examples of XGD projects can be seen on the Design Awardspages.

To see projects, articles, Videos, Designers and Firms categorized according to the SEGD XGD index, go to the Xplorepage.

Become an Experiential Graphic Designer: learn about the core competencesrequired to become an Experiential Graphic Designer.

Joining the EGD/XGD community of designers as an SEGD member is easy and offers more benefits than ever before. As an SEGD member you'll have access to learning resources, promotional tools, free videos, webinars, and so much more!But most importantly you'll be connected with your design community. SEGD offers Studio, Professional, Associate and Student memberships to best serve your specific needs. Become a member today!