Podcast | Creating Effective Design Guidelines

Podcast John Muhlhausen


What you will learn

John Muhlhausen,one of the founders and leaders of SEGD, is back! Hear him speak on one of the foundations of environmental graphic design: developing design guidelines. Guidelines codify your design intent and ensure that future users maintain design consistency. Using leading design guidelines from the past and guidelines from corporate, transportation, other wayfinding, and branding projects, John shows you what it takes to create a complete and long-lasting design guideline.


  • Documentation format
  • Project directory
  • Graphic conventions
  • Message schedules
  • Colors and finishes
  • Symbol placement and usage
  • Using pictograms
  • Using typography and kerning guidelines
  • Ensuring good communication between designers and sign manufacturers through design guidelines
  • Alphabet-Braille relationship
  • Establishing relationships between graphic elements
  • Minimal spatial requirements
  • Implementation
  • Minimizing opportunity for confusion and mistakes


Questions Answered

  • Would you agree that in design guidelines you need to have more flexibility with design intent than you would with a standalone project because of the variability of how it’s going to be used in a future?
  • How have you addressed sign program maintenance in your guidelines not only for future message updating but also for cleaning and regulating the appearance of the sign over the years?
  • After you hand off guidelines, what kind of instructions do you leave with clients for prequalifying fabricators and how clients can address that relationship?
  • Are there any examples of sample RFPs for design guidelines out there for SEGD members to reference?
  • What clients have you had that you believe have upheld your guidelines the best and why do you think they were able to uphold those guidelines so well? 


Course Materials

  • This course contains 1 podcast with 1 accompanying PDF presentation.



  • Approximately 58 minutes




Presented April 28, 2005

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