Saturday, 9 November 2013

PIXO Design: Greenbelt Trails Wayfinding

PIXO Design is a creative studio in Ottawa, Canada. They were commissioned to design a wayfinding system for "a complex network of over 150 kilometres of trails that crisscross the National Capital Greenbelt." This was an area of about 200 square kilometres, made up of forests, farms and wetlands surrounding Ottawa. They decided to mark the trails in waypoints (a waypoint is a reference point, set up in a physical space, which is used for navigational purposes), meaning that users could string the waypoints together to create their own itinerary. PIXO said of this, "Since a waypoint’s identity is specific to a location, it also improves safety and security by allowing a more accurate means of locating people in case of emergency."

Their fingerposts hold a small map that shows all waypoints. This makes sure that hikers know where they are and how far other waypoints are from their current destination. The fingerposts also hold information regarding how to back to packing lots.

Colour has been used to give the wayfinding signs a clear appearance. The combination of green and brown will alert hikers immediately of the wayfinding system. However, I'm not sure that these signs would stand out from a distance. It seems to me that their use of green and brown will make the signs blend completely into their surroundings of trees and foliage. Perhaps more vivid and contrasting colours would be better suited here.

The positioning of the map and other information has been cleverly done. The map is slightly lower than your average eyeline, meaning that children and people in wheelchairs will be able to clearly read the map. I have noticed that when confronted with a map, people usually point at it, using their finger as a grounding point so that they can understand the map more clearly. This can also be seen in the above photograph! The map is therefore at a perfect height for everyone to do this.

The following information, which signals directions to important places (such as parking), is then resting at a higher point on the sign. This means that people are alerted of a wayfinding system from a distance and do not need to get too close to the fingerpost to see what direction they are looking for.

I think that these designs are clear enough for a child to understand them, yet they would not be able to capture a children's attention, for they are really laid of for adults to read. 


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