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Design Process for developing a Directional Signage System

The process of design as related to Signage Systems

by Ravi Poovaiah 





     Different stages of Design:
Understanding the organisation and the signage environment

Identifying a facility
Locating the place for signage
Designing the elements of the signage system



. What is the brief from the Client?
. Is it a new design or a redesign?

. Stage One
. Understanding the organisation and the signage environment:

. What is the name/title of the organisation/environment?
           .


. What are the major activities of the organisation/environment?
             (useful for creating visual expressions connected with the
              organisation)

           .

           .
           .
          

. What is the unique identity specific to the organisation/environment?
           . Is there a well conceived visual identity program?
           . look at the background, history, context, etc. of the organisation
           . look at the vision, goals, future directions of the organisation
           . talk to your client and consolidate their viewpoints.
           .
           .
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. What is the need for the signage? How will the signage make a difference?
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. Stage Two
. Identifying a facility:

. What are the facilities specific to the organisation/environment for which the directional signage is required ?
              (including staircase, lift, toilet, help, dustbin, etc.)
           .
           .
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. Identify the different types of signage that you might require:           .
           . Informational? statuary? directional?
           . Floor mounted? grouted? free standing? hanging?
           . Indoors? outdoors?
           . Back lit? front lit? not lit?

           .
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Debate over these issues for imparting identity to a facility:
. whether to use graphical pictograms/visuals only?
. whether to use graphical pictograms in addition to text?
. whether to use text only?
. whether to use graphical pictograms/visuals/expressions around the facility
  when one reaches the facility?
. whether to use numbers/alphabets to identify a facility?
. (multilingual considerations, visibility, remembrance, etc.) . . . .
           .
           .
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If you have chosen pictograms/graphic symbols, whether they should reflect the function of the facility or be arbitrary (like selecting different animals/seasons/plants to depict the facility):

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. Semantic factors? should the signage have an unique identity? should it express the identity of the organisation? or should it have a unique theme?
           . expressions, meaning, content, feeling, etc
           . macro view, micro view, etc

           .
           .
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. Functional factors? How should the signage be? Should it convey additional information?
           . educational, entertainment, emotional, promotional
           . humorous, serious, expressive, etc
           . to Identify, to differentiate, to focus, etc
           . to inform, to direct, to warn, etc
           .
           .
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. Influencing factors? Can you make use of shape, form, colour, number, size, texture derived from contextual themes for this?
           . cultural factors, local idioms and conventions
           . aesthetics, trends, etc.
           .
           .
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. Usability factors? Do you need to conduct experiments to verify these factors?
           . visibility, readability, recognisability, etc
           .
human factors, etc.
           . human product interactions

           .
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. Technology and economic factors? The cost factor can influence the selection of material and the determine the method of fabrication
           . materials and processes
           . method of manufacture - batch, mass, hand fabrication?
           .
           .
           .
         

. Stage Three
. Locating the place for signage:
.  If the facility already exists, do a walk through through the outlet
           . identify the location for the main sigange - usually at the entrance
             of the lobby or visible from the main approach road
           . identify the places/corners/forks where one needs additional
             information to move ahead
           .
           .
           .

.  How would the users navigate through the different spaces in the organisation/environment ?
           Note the places where there is need for display of information, the types of information, etc.
           If it is redesign, by observing, studying and documenting
             (using photography, sketches, video-taping)

           . the users navigate through different spaces
           . the different interactions the users have with the environment
             and how they use the facilities

           .
interact with the users to talk to them, narrate their experiences and
             getting their feedback

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.
Use the map of the site or floor plans of the environment and mark the positions where different types of signages are required
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. Stage Four
. Designing the elements of the signage system:
. Classify/group these facilities into information chunks that make more sense.
           . functional? floor wise? direction-wise?
           . colour coded?
           .
           .

  Sequence/order them for easier information retrieval:
           . alphabetical?, numbered?
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. The elements of the signage:
   Use of expressions, colours (foreground and background), shapes, textures for designing the elements of the directional signage system
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. How would you represent the 'The Directional Sign'?
           .
arrow? pointing finger? layout?
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. How would you represent the 'the name of the facilities' in text?            . typeface, style, etc
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. How would you represent the 'the name of the facilities' in visuals:
           . symbols, icons, pictograms, etc.
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. Do the layout organisation of the diffrent informations on each of the directional sign panels:
           . main panels, secondary panels, etc.
           . considerations of modularity, consistancy, etc.
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. Stage Five to be continued ........
Detailing the signage- engineering, aesthetic, lighting, printing, etc::
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