Podcast | Wayfinding and Environmental Graphics in Asia and the Middle East

Podcast David Vanden-Eynden + Jan Lorenc + Kevin Kern


What you will learn

Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE: all these areas of the developing world have seen a rapid growth in modern development. With wayfinding an extension of modernity, how do traditional cultural, political and demographic issues clash with the need to form a modern infrastructure? Learn about traditional wayfinding approaches in these countries and how designers are working to translate them to the modern world.

Asia has had an urban history extending thousands of years. In early 1000 AD China and the Middle East had the most advanced civilizations in the world. War and internal disruption put Asia far behind the West. With industrialization and colonialization in the early 20th century, Asian countries adopted and over-laid the infrastructure of the west on the east. Only in the last few decades have industrialized Japan, Korea and China begun to directly reconcile traditions with western and international terminology and infrastructure. The Middle East is just beginning to manage that trend.

In this talk, experts Jan Lorenc,David Vanden-Eyndenand Kevin Kerndiscuss trends and advancements in EGD and wayfinding in Asia and the Middle East. The merge of traditional elements and modern advancements proves to be an interesting intersection in the environmental graphics field in these regions. This podcast addresses the similarities and differences between Asian, Middle Eastern and Western wayfinding systems, the trends and future developments in the regions and challenges faced when working on projects in Asia and the Middle East.      


  • Wayfinding and EGD trends in Asia and the Middle East
  • Retail design in Asia and the Middle East
  • Language considerations for wayfinding signage
  • Merging traditional and Western architecture and design
  • Working with legibility issues using different language types
  • Different Asian attitudes towards wayfinding
  • Wayfinding and interpretive projects in China - themes and desires
  • Combining different languages on signs
  • Hierarchy of language
  • Navigating cultural differences when working internationally
  • Balancing English letters and Chinese characters 


Questions Answered

  • Do you see that a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern clients are focusing on models that they see in trade and convention shows?
  • Do you have any comments on the direction you see wayfinding going in Asia and the Middle East?
  • Is the trend of every entity in a building having its own identity on the building itself being kept separate from the modern architecture?
  • Do you think we will see a merger between existing culture and modern architecture in the future, or will it continue to be a conflict?
  • In your work in Asia do you find yourself at the mercy of the client moving in design directions you would avoid normally?
  • When you arrange contracts, do you insist on being payed in American dollar or do you have a separate arrangement with the local currency?
  • Is there an Asian equivalent to ADA guidelines and if so are there any unique recommendations?
  • Do you have any suggestions about prepping yourself for cultural differences when starting to work in a new country? Particularly with the use of symbology, do pictogram elements often elicit a stronger reaction than written words?
  • What is the material availability in Asian markets? What kind of materials and manufacturing techniques are more available?
  • How can you maintain quality when you are overseas? What techniques have you used to ensure that you get the quality you are looking for?


Course Materials

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



  • Approximately 78 minutes




Presented February 2, 2006

Members, log in before adding products to your cart to receive member discounts using the "Log in/Register"link in the top right hand corner of this page or call 202-638-5555 for assistance.







Students & Associates: 

Purchase Information