Podcast | Wayfinding Americas: Campus Wayfinding and Information Systems

Podcast Amy Rees + Adrian Bell


What you will learn

College campuses are some of the best opportunities for implementing wayfinding systems. With expansive outdoor spaces as well as multiple administrative, classroom and athletic buildings, a college campus is a wayfinding expert’s playground! Learn from Amy Reesand Adrian Bell as they discuss case studies an answer questions about their design process, strategy, and implementation of campus wayfinding systems.

Amy Rees reviews her work with exit on the Rutgers University project and the considerations and challenges faced when implementing wayfinding solutions for the university’s various campuses. She talks about the entire process from research and planning to design, fabrication, execution and maintenance.

Adrian Bell talks about the University of British Columbia and his work in designing a wayfinding system for the entire campus. The project had to be integrated into the architecture and landscaping of the campus and present the attractions of the campus as the first point of contact for visitors. He talks about the research, design development, and approach to designing a cohesive, unified campus identity through wayfinding. For this project, Adrian drew from his experience on the Legible London project to implement a map-based system.

This course focuses specifically on the current trends and state of campus wayfinding on North American campuses. You will learn about how designers can integrate brand and information design systems to create a comprehensive and legible campus experience. Download this podcast to hear from campus wayfinding experts and discover methods for integrating pedestrian wayfinding with a focus on walkability and mapping systems.


  • Incorporating university brand into wayfinding systems/sign programs
  • Auditing and researching existing conditions and user needs
  • Creating sense of place on college campuses
  • Understanding campus wayfinding needs
  • Designing to accommodate for changeability and adaptability
  • Using color and symbols to incorporate university identity into signage
  • Map-based approach to wayfinding experience
  • Design development and documentation
  • Striking a balance between physical elements of placemaking and more dynamic information systems


Questions Answered

  • Describe the project scope, goals, and objectives your client wanted to achieve. What was the timeframe for planning and phasing the program?
  • How were elements such as brand prioritized by the client? How were the university brand components integrated into the sign program? 
  • How did your team audit the existing conditions? What tools were used to map out current sign destinations, user behaviors, and new sign locations? 
  • Describe the design development process for the unique sign types. What were the goals and function of each sign type in the family? How much of the existing infrastructure’s language and materiality had to be maintained? 
  • What kind of requirements did the campus have for long-term adaptability and changeability for the signs? How involved were internal sign shops and the fabricator in the prototyping process? 
  • What kinds of materials were used on the signs? How much did the design team drive materiality and form decisions vs. client requests and requirements? 
  • What challenges were unique to this project and what did your team learn? Did any challenges become opportunities for innovation? 
  • What unique technologies or digital solutions are integrated into your project? 
  • Looking back, what are the major trends and outcomes that informed this project that you foresee integrating into future work? 
  • Describe the collaborative process between your client and your design and fabrication team? 
  • As location-based technology becomes more integral to our experiences in navigating space, how has the role of traditional or static information design changed—especially within public, globally diverse spaces like university campuses? 
  • With the short timeline, how did you refine the signage messaging hierarchy from your audit of existing information along with your simplification of information, identification, etc.?
  • You mentioned the selection of the elements used in the signage structure. How did you decide which decorative elements would be used in the actual branded elements of the sign?
  • What was the budget and final cost for each respective signage system?
  • Did either school have conflicting brands that needed to be resolved, for example academic vs athletic brands?
  • What software did you use to document the design package and did you deliver a standard document to the school?
  • Did any of the sign systems continue to interior signage applications?
  • Will future revisions and changes to signage manuals be handled by the university going forward?
  • What kind of landscape shaping was done in terms of integrating signage?
  • Was there any significant focus on signage for cyclists?
  • Are the UBC pylons lit internally?


Course Materials

  • This course contains 1 podcast with 2 accompanying PDF presentations.



  • Approximately 78 minutes




Presented September 19, 2013 

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