Saturday 16 November 2013

Mike & Maaike: Wallpaper Wayfinding

Mike & Maaike is a industrial design studio led by Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers. Together they designed a series of wallpapers that worked as a wayfinding system.
Wallpaper is typically decorative, while symbols/pictograms are typically functional... by combining the two you are given a working wayfinding system that is also very aesthetically pleasing and easily compliments the surrounding space.
I think that the wallpaper may stand out more prominently than regular signs, for it is taking up much more space. You would be able to see the wallpaper symbols from a great distance, perhaps even if you have poor eyesight, and therefore you would be able to find your destination with more speed.
The symbols that appear on the wallpaper are traditional, universal pictograms that clearly represent what they are explaining. For example, the typical male and female symbol has been put in use to show the direction of the toilets, while arrows have been used to show the way to the exit and a knife and fork leads the way to a cafe. Typical colour has also been used, with a bright pink to show where the female toilets are located and green arrows to show the direction of fire exits. Most of these colours are also very vibrant, so that they can be easily spotted.
The wallpaper does not exactly point you in the direction of your needed destination (apart from the arrow wallpaper that shows exits), though it seems to mark the end destination. The wallpaper seems to be set up to lead you to the area. For example, at the end of corridor you are able to see the male and female symbols for the toilet. By walking toward the wallpaper, you are then able to look around the corner, where you can see different wallpaper, showing the pink female symbol for the women's toilet or the blue male symbol. These symbols are shown just outside of the toilet doors.
Perhaps signs would need to be put in place at the entrance of the building, to lead people in the right direction of different locations and then, once you are drawing closer to that destination, the wallpaper wayfinding system can be put in use.

What is also great about this design is that it could be understood by both adults and children. However, more advanced symbols may be confusing to children.


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