Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Entry Signage and Wayfinding: Shea Ferrell

Shea Ferrell came up with numerous concepts for entry signage and wayfinding for forest trails, lodges and ranches.

One of these designs involved a brochure and logo for Colina del Sol. The logo reflects the brand's name - "Hill of the Sun" - while the curling waves refer to the Sea of Cortez, which lays beyond. Her entry signage plans to be made out of wrought steel.

The below design is for the Uncompahgre Riverway trail. Ferrell has added elements of nature into her design, for the border of the information board represents the bark and twigs of a tree. The shape is made up of unusual curves, which mimic the overhanging canopies of riverbank tree forms and the shape of the logo. Natural colours of brown and greens reinforce the woodland aspect of the trail. The height and width of the informational board is also very large, as can be seen when it is presented next to the silhouetted figures in the concept illustration. The map can therefore be viewed with more detail and the sign could be seen from a distance. The earthly colours might have meant that the sign could be lost amidst the trees and scenery, so the size of the board does help.

Other concepts:

I think that looking at these designs has helped me consider what would look good on a trail that is surrounded by nature. I like the idea of encorportating parts on nature into the design, so that the information board, or other graphical feature, better suits its surroundings. I have also taken note of how Ferrell produces the concept art for her designs and feel that this will help me later on in the project.


Climate Trail

The Watermead Park Climate Trail in Leicester, England opened in August 2011. It is designed to be educational and entertaining, a 500 metre trail with an important environmental message. The signage was designed by Newenglish Design and Creed Design Associates and was created out of recycled materials. Carl Bebbington, from Newenglish Design, said: "It was really important that we practiced what we preached so we used recycled materials in the constructions that we got from the city's rubbish dumps."

An eight foot long arrow marks the entrance of the trail. It's design is attractive, with stripes of reclaimed metal, plastic and wooden panels put into use. The text looks to be spray-painted on, using a bold, stenciled typeface.

Totems are also present throughout the trails, some made from oil drums and others from wood. Tips are put onto these structures, explaining how the viewer can re-use, recycle and reduce. These tips are straightforward, colourful and simple to read, which means that children would also be able to understand their meaning.

Gabions (wired cages that are often used in the construction of dams and retaining walls) are filled with recycled objects along the trail. They are also filled with cans, bottles and electrical appliances that can be found in dumps, their presence an encouragement for the viewer to recycle.

A 30m “carbon footprint” boardwalk concludes the trails:

It says on Creed Design Associates website: "We worked closely with the local authority to develop and implement ideas and structures. Local schools contributed to the project by collecting materials and thought-provoking info-graphics were produced in collaboration with New English graphic design consultants."

I was interested in viewing how this trail is set up and how the objects along the walk reflect the message behind the trail. Children would also be able to understand the clear messages and perhaps pick up some educational information this way.


Children's Library Identity

Hvass & Hannibal designed a visual indentiy for the children's department at Copenhagen's central library, Hovedbiblioteket in October 2013.

It explains on Nan Na Hvass and Sofie Hannibal's website: "The identity is based on a modular system of shapes that can form different characters and patterns. The idea is that the kids can have fun with this system – creating stories and characters of their own – and that the identity can continue to grow in many directions."

The different patterns and shaped can be mixed and matched, which encourages children to get involved with the design. The children can interact, making their own stories and designs. These objects are very simplistic; obvious shapes and block colouring. This is what makes them work so well with the child target audience.
Hvass and Hannibal did user testing with the pupils from the school Skolen på Islands Brygges. They left the children with the cut-out shapes, saying to them that they could experiment and stick the shapes on the windows of the library's building. They also asked ten to twelve year old students to rate a series of logo designs.

The results showed that, though the librarians preferred the more complex designs, the children enjoyed the more simplistic ones, which reflected in Hvass and Hannibal final designs. They also kept the logo very simple. After seeing the success of their designs, the designers plan to form a sticker sheet so that the children can put them on their notebooks or backpacks. They also want to create canvas bags and t-shirts with their designs.

In my opinion, the interactive element is very strong, as children like to be involved with things. It will certainly keep their attention for a longer period of time and let them have fun with the design.


Bridgend's Heritage

Bridgend is a town in Wales with a deep personal history. The Bridgend Heritage Network (founded in 2012) came up with the project “Stitching Together the Rural Landscape” to capture the history and heritage of Bridgend. This is done through digital stories, audio recordings, poems and pictures. It says on their website that, “The project aims to look at different historic themes and bring communities together to share the stories and experiences which link them together.” I was particularly in the graphics that Bridgend's Heritage have produced to interest a younger audience.

The below logo is used on the children's documents. Again, a colourful character has been introduced, an owl. The shapes are simplistic and colours bright, but not overwhelming. I feel that a more suitable font could have been used, however. Though this one appears quirky with it's square letters and serif flicks, I think a more modern typeface could have been adopted, perhaps a sans-serif one.

Print-outs are available on the website and these include activities to get children more involved in Bridgend's Heritage. The design is bright, interesting and colourful. Images break up the text so that it never seems overwhelming and small activities, such as spot the difference, add fun elements to the educational papers.

Each "Tale and Trail" comes with an activity sheet, such as spot the difference, a story and a map showing the trail and notable features to stop by.

Story for Blackmill:
Interior of story. Colour is complimentary and vivid. Quirky borders and illustrations stop the text appearing boring.

Spot the differnce. Each spot the difference is an illustration that links to the trail.


The character logo is present to explain information and create more activities, while the trail is clearly and understandably marked due to its simplicity, for only basic information of the path has been included. Again, colour is a strong part of this design. Green signifies nature and covers most of the image. However, the pink and purple of the logo breaks this up and offers an interesting contrast.

Other maps:

I really liked the idea seen on the Kenfig Pool map, which included illustrations of different types of birds. Next to this, a text bubble asked which of these birds the viewer could spot. The same was also done with the shape of leaves. This adds an extra activity and makes the map appear more exciting. It is also educational and will keep the attention of children throughout the entire trail.

Other graphics for different locations can be seen here: http://www.bridgendsheritage.co.uk/bridgend%27s-heritage/downloads.aspx


Kasia Kaczmarek: Children's Hospital Wayfinding System

Kasia Kaczmarek developed a concept for wayfinding in a children's' hospitals. The graphical images she has produced sum up what I have learned about designing wayfinding for children. For she includes bright colours and playful characters. Her pictograms are simplistic and easily understandable and adopt a cartoon-like visual language. Pictograms also rarely use more than two colours. This one uses a blue as the main colour and adds other colours in only when needed. For example, red is used on a cross to easily identify the appearance of medical staff and a bold red crosses the things that you cannot do.

Th characters below are easily recongisable by their obvious shape and appearance, yet the colour and slightly exaggerated shapes lend a strong illustrative appearance that makes them unique and interesting. Curves have been used in the making of these animal, softening their appearance to something child-friendly.
Characters often mark different locations:

Colours are also used to help children differentiate between locations; they know to follow the orange trail to reach a certain destination, for example. Nature is also brought into the designs, with animals but also with grass and flowers. The coloured trails are marked by photographs of natural things which represent that certain colour. Such as yellow flowers represent the yellow path and oranges represent the orange path. I have noticed that a lot of buildings incorporate the outside world into their designs to further engage children and to make the building seem more relaxed and familiar to them.


Michael Faraday School

Cartlidge Levene worked with Michael Faraday School to produce a new wayfinding system for the building. The school is located in Southwark, London. It is in an urban setting, whose demographic rating puts it among the lowest categories in terms of deprivation and ‘inner city adversity’.

Cartlidge Levene was given the brief to develop a wayfinding system that would engage children and make the children, staff and parents feel a pride in their school. Playful, colourful designs have therefore been adopted to create a fun, relaxed space for children and adults to enjoy. The new visual language is so much different than in any school that I have seen and I know I would have enjoyed it at a younger age. The new graphic identity is new and inviting, yet also works well alongside the Faraday logo that can be seen above the main entrance.

The layout includes a continuous row of year group classrooms, which form around a circular space that stretches two levels. Flag signs of different colours fold outward to display the identity of each of these year groups. There is also a "flexible learning space", which has been named the Living Room, positioned in the centre of the school. Classrooms for year groups one to six are arranged around it. The Living Room is made up of a bright yellow wall, which looks wholly unique and interesting and gives the children a relaxed space to unwind in.

A paperchain of male and female toilet logos are clearly displayed across a wall to mark the presence of the toilets. This brought me back to my previous blog post, where a similar technique is used, only with wallpaper patterns.

Concept art:


Paz-Holandesa Hospital: Children's Medical Centre

Paz-Holandesa is based in Peru. Its service is based on equality; social or economic conditions play no role. The strong graphic identity that the hospital has adopted immediately caught my attention as successful wayfinding for children. 
Rejane Dal Bello, the designer, says, "The character needed to evoke hope and strength so I chose bold, solid characters and vibrant colors for their power and energy and the flower as a metaphor of growth. This all added up to to be the elements that define the visual identity."

The characters all keep to a consistent visual language. Their design has been influenced by the main flower logo and they keep to this shape. However, their faces and accessories differ so that the children can tell each one apart and understand what symbolizes a nurse, a doctor etc. The playful design and bright colour is less intimidating for a child, which goes a long way to comfort them in such an environment. 

The designer also said of the other characters: "The other characters represent the staff of the hospital which help PAZ. They're meant to be part of the daily life in the hospital, so the characters are based on real staff members as the doctors, doctor's assistants, nurses, administrator, cleaner, technician etc.
so the character can interact with the patients." 

The characters are based on real people, so perhaps this would make it much more understandable for children. To make this even more simplistic, the staff do not wear traditional uniform, but instead wear a t-shirt with their character printed on it. This means that a doctor's clothing is the same as a administrators or cleaners, only differentiated by the printed character. This also lends a family feel to the Hospital, which will put children at more ease.

Rejane Dal Bello said: "It's funny because the director, Marjan van Mourik, told me that the doctors hated this idea because they want to use their traditional, hierarchical doctors clothing… New ideas tend to upset people!"

 Wall paintings

Building signage

Wall decor

Colouring book


Eye chart test. Shapes used instead of letters.

 A strong, consistent theme has been kept throughout.