NY & NJ Airports

Honor Award

Wayfinding System for New York and New Jersey Airports

The three airports of John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia operate separately, as do all individual terminals. Over the years, this has resulted in a vast variety of signage styles and types with inconsistent – sometimes even conflicting – information, all displayed in an already highly complex environment. The challenge was to develop one master system that can be applied to all airport terminals, roadways, and parking facilities, and which has the sophistication to direct passengers from all over the world within an environment of hundreds of possible destinations. Initial programming and implementation were developed by Chermayeff & Geismar and applied to Terminal 4, along with Bureau Mijksenaar's graphic standards, resulting in a "full information system" that provides all information necessary to travel smoothly through the airport – from curb to plane and back. In addition, color-coding should increase visibility and information comprehensibility, allowing passengers to follow only signs that are relevant to them at a given moment. A J.D. Power and Associates survey of the new system at LaGuardia Central Terminal confirmed "significantly improved consumer satisfaction" when compared with the prior system.

Jury Comments: 

"The need for airport wayfinding to function clearly, simply, and directly has been successfully achieved in this application." "Back to the basics here. Airports are extremely demanding environments for the user. Often wayfinding is lost in the character of the architectural environment. For the New York and New Jersey airports, it is all about the visitor and the simplicity and hierarchy of color systems and typography. Information is organized based on decision-making and location. The signage system is all about the message sign structures. This system ties the entire network of roadway, parking lots, and terminals into one format of communication."

Design Firm: 

Bureau Mijksenaar, Chermayeff & Geismar (initial programming and implementation for Terminal 4)

Client: 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Location City: 

New York and New Jersey

Project Area: 

N/A

Open Date: 

N/A

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

N/A

Design Team: 

Bureau Mijksenaar Paul Mijksenaar (Principal in Charge); Chermayeff & Geismar Keith Helmetag (Principal in Charge), Anthony Ferrara (Senior Designer/Project Manager), Fabio Gherardi (Junior Designer), Alex Yampolsky (Junior Designer)

Consultants: 

Kolano Design, Peter Muller-Munk Associates, Louis Nelson

Fabricators: 

Signs and Decal (for Terminal 4)

Related Links: 

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