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By Julie Maggos, SEGD, LEED AP | Senior Director of Experiential Design
A Lite-Brite-like chess game on a break-room wall, pulsing lights leading towards reception, the shapes of a logo broken into sculptural elements suspended above a stair—these are all installations at TIAA Headquarters in Manhattan, developed by IA’s Experiential Graphic Design team to express the organization’s brand and culture.
Are these installations really considered “graphic design“? I have been in the field of experiential graphic design for over 20 years, and the truth is, we have always had a hard time determining a title for what we do. While a lot of our work involves analog and digital graphic design, it’s also true that a lot of what we do does not feature “graphics” in the traditional sense of images, words or illustrations.
Angelle Bolt of IA’s Austin studio recently completed a mural comprised solely of painted cassette tapes arranged on a wall. “You can’t really put what we do in a box, or at least just a ‘graphics’ box. It’s broader, and maybe more of a ‘crate’ than a box—with gaps where we venture out into new territory, using new elements and new technologies.”
For this reason, IA is officially dropping the G—we are removing the word Graphics from the name of our service and looking to the future with the more representative title of Experiential Design. We believe this explains what we do, without understating our capabilities. It is a moniker that reflects how the industry is evolving, and IA is proud to lead with this new codification.