From murals to statues and everything in-between, experience and environmental graphic design requires more then signage to make a wayfinding system appealing and unique. While traditional signage can be utilitarian, adding innovative elements beyond road signs can help to spur interest and engagement among visitors and residents. Before finalizing the plan for your wayfinding systems, consider the following tips regarding art within the system:
- Create a Zen-like experience for the end user – The use of art in a wayfinding system is incorporated to both attract attention and enhance the user experience. Because art has been proven to lessen anxiety, these features can also provide comfort for individuals who find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. Artistic mediums in wayfinding can take on many different forms including: water features, artistic landscaping, metal works, statues and monuments. If your city is trying to create a uniquely inviting wayfinding experience, don’t rule out inspiration from Zen-like environments.
- Consider art for all environments – The proper use of art and graphic features can largely depend on the environment in which a wayfinding project is located. Although colorful art and graphics are most common in densely populated urban areas, it is not uncommon to find directional art in rural settings. In many urban settings, art has itself become a featured component of a branded wayfinding system, pointing out historic districts and buildings, as well as helping to improve orientation within the environment. Regardless of where a wayfinding feature is located, all types of art should be considered based on the needs of the city and end user.
- Navigation is key – Because navigability is a central component in designing a successful wayfinding system, art can provide the end-user with memorable elements of a space. Accumulation of data within the environment will make a space less daunting, while providing users with “keys” within the space. Work to use art and graphics as orientation cues in order to make wayfinding less redundant, thus more easily navigable. Art can also be used to distinguish city gateways, identity and civic branding. A prime example of this is the Gateway Arch in St Louis, MO.