What an amazing Wayfinding event we had last week in Boston. Featuring sold-out tours, an all-star line-up of presenters and numerous opportunities for wayfinding professionals from around the world to connect with each other, this was the largest Wayfinding event in SEGD history!
If you were there, you know how great it was. But if you couldn't make it, here's what you missed out on.
The 2017 SEGD Wayfinding event kicked off on a spectacular Thursday morning with a series of tours in and around Boston that highlighted the innovative projects, spaces and the firms who contribute to Boston's great sense of place.
Cloud Gehshan's Principal Ian Goldberg and Designer Linzi Eggers led the tour of the Brigham Women's Hospital wayfinding system, which included exterior and interior signage systems.
DCL's Vice-President and SEGD Board Member Mike McCarthy and associates led the Downtown Boston wayfinding tour with a focus on the Downtown Crossing wayfinding kiosks. The kiosks provided the guidance for the group to navigate some of Boston's most historic structures and places while checking out some really innovative wayfinding designed by Omloop.
The afternoon tours led participants to the far corners of Boston visiting Amazon's Boston branded spaces with Wayfinding speaker Annelle Stotz and the team at IA | Interior Architects.
Airports are always a popular space to learn about technology, wayfinding, and customer experiences. The team from Massport (Bob Haverty) and Art of Context (Colleen Hamilton) showcased the digital innovations and spatial enhancements at Boston Logan Airport.
SEGD Chapter co-chair Sam Pease showcased Sasaki's FabLab and offices in the Boston suburb of Watertown. Visitors to the studios and fabrication shop were given the opportunity to see how some of their environmental projects were physically prototyped and how this methodology is integral to the firm's core processes and design philosophy.
SEGD Boston Chapter Event
The wayfinding event has come and gone, as a chapter chair it was a blur. Between the tours, the talks and the Chapter Bash, there was a ton to do and experience.
Our chapter bash was the largest event we have hosted in memory, and looking around the room, there was not an empty hand, nor someone not engaged in conversation. We were grateful to be joined by a total of 95 event attendees and local members, it was a special time to share our city with all of our new friends. Many made new connections, reconnected with old friends, and shared feedback from the day. Again, as a chapter we would like to thank DCL, Walton Signage, Sasaki, and The Central Wharf Co. staff for helping us to host a tremendous evening.
Everyone we had the chance to talk to during the bash was excited with their tour, and eagerly looking forward to the Friday events. We have heard/shared a ton of positive feedback on the talks, with the words “inspiring, touching, and amazing” being a common thread. We could not be happier to be part of this community, and able to share our fair city with you, albeit for only 2 days.
The sessions were fantastic and probably more varied than at any focused-topic SEGD event in a long time. With SEGD Fellows Cliff Selbert, David Gibson and Richard Poulin providing three widely contrasting views of the field of wayfinding to bookend the day, how could you go wrong?
Cliff Selbert kicked off the day asking "WTF?" when it comes to the barrage of digital technologies and opportunities coming on stream to improve (sometimes) our ability to help visitors navigate spaces. The talk was highly entertaining, but with a serious undertone as you realize that Selbert Perkins are shifting rapidly to integrate the new technologies into their practice.
David Gibson told one of the most beautiful stories about the meaning behind undertaking a journey that we have seen on an SEGD stage. We are a community of professionals who use signs and communication to create meaningful experiences that connect people to place. David asked: "What do people get out of a journey?" And his response: Getting lost is a vital part of the explorative nature of taking a journey as that is when you discover things you did not know about. Given that this is part of the process of taking a journey, David then stated that it is therefore important that part of a wayfinder's role is to ensure that when travelers do get lost, that the wayfinding system should provide them with a good grasp of the big picture to be able to find their way again. It was great to hear someone thinking hard about why we do what we do, not just about the artifacts that result from that process.
Richard Poulin rounded out the day with an overview of his professional journey and a walk through the highlights from his new book Archigraphia Redux. There is nothing better than listening to someone who can describe the output of the design process using a full vocabulary of design terms and clear explanations of why projects were chosen for the project. Thank you, Richard, for a most enjoyable talk.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was it in terms of content, but that would be a big mistake! SEGD is now fully multi-generational and international and that was completely clear in the other presentations during the Wayfinding event.
Gen Xer Katie Osborn demonstrated the power of deeply integrating user research into her wayfinding process with some powerful first-person anecdotes, and Annelle Stotz flew the flag proudly for the Millennials with her story of joining a practice where wayfinding did not really exist as a discipline and how she brought a sense of process and coherence to a huge client project over multiple locations. To round out an awesome program, Colleen Hamilton, Stephen Minning and Itati Moguiler delivered powerful insights from their international perspectives.
Last year we combined the SEGD Wayfinding event and the Airports event (after ASM ceased to exist as an organization) and this formula has proved very successful as was evidenced from the growth in the event last year and then again by 50% this year! Thank you very much to Colleen Hamilton of Art of Context and Robert Haverty of Boston Logan/Massport for helping to host the event and helping us all understand the amazing progress being made in the customer experience at Logan Airport. And a special thanks to 2017 SEGD Wayfinding Presenting Sponsors Identity Group and PAM Wayfinding for supporting this tremendously successful event.
If there was any one takeaway (and there were many!) from the event, it has to be how multi-touchpoint oriented wayfinding programs have become and how tightly integrated they are with the elements of placemaking and branding.
Reported by Justin Molloy, SEGD Director of Education; Kayte Muse and Sam Pease, SEGD Boston Chapter Co-Chairs; and Clive Roux, SEGD CEO.
While nothing can replace the networking opportunities, interactive experiences and audience engagement of an event of this magnitude, SEGD members will have exclusive access to the session recordings in the coming weeks on SEGD Talks.Keep an eye out for the videos, and see for yourself how powerful this year's programming was. Not a member? Join SEGD today.