Feature Article

National Mall Signage and Wayfinding

With All Due Respect

A new signage and wayfinding program for the National Mall informs and guides visitors, but treads lightly.

When Pierre L’Enfant envisioned a “Grand Avenue” that would serve as the central axis and monumental core of the District of Columbia, he dreamt of ceremonial spaces and a tree-lined boulevard "…four hundred feet in breadth, and about a mile in length, bordered by gardens, ending in a slope from the houses on each side..."

Washington, D.C., Environmental Graphics

A Capitol Idea

Washington, D.C., is a content-rich venue for the 2010 SEGD Conference + Expo.

With its vocabulary of granite and marble and limestone, carved letters and majestic sculptures, classical architecture and stately canopies of trees, Washington, D.C., tells a story.

There are many individual stories told within the walls of its museums, inside its art galleries, and on the stone tablets marking its memorials. But collectively, the city’s monumental features tell just one: the story of what it means to be American.

Kent State University Wayfinding Research

Rethinking the Campus

A Kent State University study questions some long-held assumptions about urban wayfinding.

Wayfinding is a complex and site-specific discipline that is only taught by a handful of university-level design programs. A recent course offered at Kent State University not only adopted a research-based approach to teaching the discipline, but also charted new territory in the exploration of symbols, colors, and destinations used in urban wayfinding.

Tampa Downtown Wayfinding

Lighting the Way

Tampa’s new wayfinding system shows off the city’s assets and gives it a bright new identity.

Tampa’s second-generation wayfinding system needed to connect the city’s 300,000 annual visitors to major destinations, point the way to downtown parking garages, and provide a new pedestrian wayfinding component.

Almost as important, it needed to provide the city with a fresh new identity—minus the clichéd palm tree and beach graphics many people associate with Florida.

Legible London

Walk This Way

London’s prototype wayfinding system aims to simplify a complex city and encourage walking.

With London’s numerous neighborhoods and boroughs, unplanned maze of streets, and dense road traffic, it’s not easy for pedestrians to find their way around. A 2001 London Area Transport Survey found that one in seven Londoners had trouble navigating the city on foot, and one in four feared getting lost. That’s to say nothing of the 27 million annual visitors, many discovering the city for the first time.

The Image of the City

The Image of the City

Fifty years after the publication of Kevin Lynch’s seminal book, his vocabulary and human-centered approach are still shaping urban design and wayfinding.

In my junior year in college, I took a correspondence course in urban geography from Penn State. As I read the textbook in the basement boiler room of an old elementary school (my summer job cleaning and fixing boilers was actually ideal for taking a correspondence course), I discovered an author who would forever change my perceptions about urban planning and design.

Official NYC Information Center

Virtually There

The Official NYC Visitors Center is a digital-era launching pad for New York tourists.

The renovation of the Official NYC Information Center is not a mere before-and-after story. In the hands of New York-based designers Local Projects and WXY Architecture, the storefront space in midtown Manhattan has been transformed from a stereotypical visitor-service station into a new model that swaps printed maps and brochures for digital interfaces that are seamlessly integrated with the architecture.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

World of Wonder

The second-generation Sony Wonder Technology Lab negotiates a new deal between technology, architecture, and experience.  

In many ways, the newly renovated Sony Wonder Technology Lab—Sony Corporation of America’s interactive, free-to-the-public museum in midtown Manhattan—reflects the evolution of our love affair with technology.

Metal in EGD

The Power of Metal

More malleable than stone, stronger than glass, and nobler than synthetic materials, metal expresses quality and permanence. 

For thousands of years, blacksmiths have fabricated metal works of impressive scale and fluidity. Iron was first forged in the Middle East around 1900 BC and arrived in Europe by 1200 BC. In colonial America, the blacksmith was an essential member of every community. From the creation of ancient weaponry to utilitarian and decorative architectural features, metal work is both art and craft.

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