Sunday, 27 October 2013

London Visit

When I visited London, I took particular interest in the wayfinding system, Legible London. 

At the top of the sign, clashing black and yellow colours have been used to draw the attention of travellers from a good distance away, those who are purposely seeking a wayfinding system. When walking around London, I could immediately spot one of these signs from a good distance away due to the dramatic splash of yellow and the walking man symbol, making this technique very effective.

The font used throughout the sign is New Johnston, while the body text is 12 pt and written in Johnston Light. New Johnston is a redesign of the original London underground typeface. People are so used to seeing this font when traveling the underground (as most Londoners do) that it becomes subconsciously familiar to them, perhaps making this the perfect font to be located on other way-finding signs. This is a simple, sans-serif font, used because this style of type is clearer from a distance and for quick reading. It is more advanced in these areas than a serif font would be. 
Considerations have also been given to users with physical difficulties. as the map is positioned at a height easily readable for members of the public who are in wheelchairs. However, not much consideration has been given to visually impaired (though white text on a black background is said to help), as the writing is not overly large and no braille has been supplied. 

This wayfinding system has not been designed for children. I certainly don't think that a child would be able to understand it and, after all, it is expected that the parents will do the navigating. 

London Transport Museum

Museums usually offer fun ways to engage children and encourage them to take interest in their surroundings. Otherwise such places could be quite boring for them. When I visited the London Transport Museum, there were many children present and all of them were rushing around, excited to be in this environment. 
 Why was this? Well, the museum did have a number of fun activities specifically aimed at children. Seen here:Version:
Also, in each different section of the museum, there was a stand where you could “stamp” your ticket. The machine punctuated a hole in your ticket, into the shape of something that usually related to the museum itself. So, for example, you could collect a bus stamp, train stamp etc. The idea was to “collect them all”, which also encourages the children to move around the museum and explore each section. 
 A card could also been given to you at the start, which you could use to collect the stamps. It also briefly explained how to work the stamping machine. 
This is a fun, creative way to interest children all the way through the museum. 
You can also receive a leaflet that doubles up as extra activities that children can complete, such as spot the difference, other games and fun facts. Seen here:
Colour has been used, bright enough to stand out to children. Illustrations also break up the text, stopping the leaflet from becoming overwhelming.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Wendy Parker: SMCC Wayfinding

Wendy Parker was commissioned to design the wayfinding system for an 8000 square foot children’s area at South Mountain Community Church. Taking inspiration from the church's name, Parker used a theme of “Mountains” throughout the building. With her directional signs, she mimicked the shape of forestry signage, while also using a playful wood grain appearance.

Murals of the outside world decorated the corridor walls, adding colour and nature to what would otherwise be a boring grey wall. This was a similar technique used in the hospital wayfinding systems (see previous post). They also reflected the natural world through their illustrations. I think this creates a fresh and more exciting atmosphere for the children to enjoy. And, again, characterisation has been used, though through human characters in this example. 


Greg Crothers - Children's Activity Centre Designs

Including characters in wayfinding system seems to be a safe way of engaging a younger audience.

For example, Graphic Designer, Greg Crothers, suggested a wayfinding symbol system, to be used in a children's activity centre. Characterisation and colour was the main focus.
I particularly liked how he incorporated his character into bold, simplistic and easily recognisable symbols. The outfit and accessories of the character also reinforce the area in which the wayfinding sign symbolises. From a first glance, you can identify immediately which area the image symbolises. The only one I had to think twice about was the yellow parking sign. But the other signs almost don't need adjoining text to go along with them. 
 Medical Station:
 Juice Bar:
Baby Changing Station:

Friday, 18 October 2013

Wayfinding for Children's Hospitals

I researched into two Hospitals - Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Melbourne – who redesigned their wayfinding system to better suit the need of children.

The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Melbourne
Up to 10,000 people visit this hospital every day and their wayfinding system (which started development in 2009 and was finalized in 2011) was built specifically with children in mind. It brings together six levels of clinical, research and education facilities in a wholly unique way. 
During the research stage, the designers collaborated with child physiologists as well as over 600 children. Staff and patient surveys were also a key method used, as well as interviews and observation techniques so that they could better understand adult versus child wayfinding abilities. They also looked into designing for those with English as a second language.
One of their studies showed that the use of clinical terminology could be confusing and intimidating for children. Finn Butler, Wayfinding Direction for BΓΌro North, explains that they moved “away from clinical terminology to make it a lot more accessible”. With this in mind, they introduced friendlier names for different sections of the hospital, linking these back to the artwork on the walls with names such as “Koala Ward” and “Possum Ward”.

Indeed, characterisation has been used to engage children to the hospital's signs. The wayfinding system created likens the hospital to the natural world. You start at the lower ground level, marked with the theme of “Underground” and travel right to the top floor, where the theme is “Sky”. Specific areas on each level relate to the theme. For example, “Koala Ward” exists on the “Tree Tops” level.
Further creative decisions are made throughout the hospital. The lift is symbolized with either an illustration of a beanstalk or slide, while colourful, quirky illustrations attract the eye from a distance.
The design company worked with illustrator Jane Reiseger to produce these illustrations. Reiseger says that her illustrations are “fairy intuitive”, which can be seen in her loose lines and a simplicity that is almost child-like. The illustrations had to also provide a calming distraction, which has been achieved especially through the use of colour. Colour has been effectively integrated into the building, taking a step away from the usual intimidating white walls of a medical location. The colours are bright enough to attract a child's attention, though they do not go overboard, for each level has its own colour scheme, which is linked to the name of their floor. For example, “Underwater” works with mainly blues and greens. 

Overall, the wayfinding system successfully works in engaging children and making the Royal Children's Hospital a more calming and less intimidating place.

They also looked at environmental considerations when they built the design, seen in the video below:

Great Ormond Street Hospital 
 Great Ormond Street Hospital uses a very similar technique to the Royal Children's Hospital wayfinding system, developed by Landor Associates. For example, they have also created the lower floor to have the theme of “under the sea” and their top floor to have be “sky”. The ward on each floor is also named after an animal that is associated with the theme of that floor. These characters can help “guide” the patient or visitor to different parts of the hospital. 
They have also created a colour identity, to be given to each of the hospital's six buildings, making navigation through various buildings much less confusing. "For me, it required a multi-storey car park level of simplicity of navigation," the design director at Landor Associates, Carl Halksworth, said, “but we couldn't stop there because when you understand the nature of the organisation, you don't want to just apply some big numbers and say that's what it's all about. We wanted to take the opportunity to really get into the culture of the hospital."
He goes on to explain, “It was an eye-opener when we started to talk to the team at GOSH about the way distraction / distraction therapy – is a key part of the therapeutic environment. The thinking is, if you’re going to give someone a big injection in their bottom, give them something to look at, get them to count the number of bees on the wall – it will make the situation better. So we wanted to look at how we could bring that distraction into our scheme and to make it more of an inviting and welcoming environment.”


Learning Outcomes

Currently, I would like to use my double Negotiated Production module to further explore information design, especially wayfinding systems, such as trails. I would like to focus on children's wayfinding systems and how they differ to information graphics designed for adults.

Learning outcomes:
- Research and critically evaluate a range of existing examples of wayfinding systems, analysing what makes them successful or otherwise.
- Generate, and select from a range of paper based ideas, a proposal that can be developed into a wayfinding system.
- Choose and use a range of design tools.
- Work responsibly with appropriate time-management techniques.
- Design a communication solution using an appropriate medium.
- Make judgments about the appropriateness of different design approaches, regarding what is suitable for children to understand. 

Time Management

Since I have lectures on Tuesday and Thursday, I have decided to make Wednesday my day for focusing on my Independent Study and Friday the day for my Negotiated Production module. I should be doing about seven hours a week on both of these modules and plan to put in the majority of these hours on the set days. However, I can also use the weekend or Monday to add in extra hours, if needed.