Monday, August 4, 2008

Wayfinding

Wayfinding is the name given to the art and science of putting the right information in the right place in order to provide the user with an easy journey through a difficult environment. Wayfinding designers look at information hierarchy and provide an appropriate structure to minimize error and confusion.

Urban planner Kevin A. Lynch coined the term in his 1960 book Image of the City, where he defined wayfinding as “a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment”. In 1984 environmental psychologist Romedi Passini published the full-length "Wayfinding in Architecture" and expanded the concept to include signage and other graphic communication, clues inherent in the building's spatial grammar, logical space planning, audible communication, tactile elements, and provision for special-needs users. If you can find a copy of Wayfinding: People, Signs, and Architecture (Hardcover) by Paul Arthur and Romedi Passini (Authors) get it because it is rare and sells for over $100 (above left)

Joel Katz, a top wayfinding designer, designed a wayfinding system for the city of Philadelphia that is among the best ever designed in the world. The wayfinding system for Walk Philadelphia shows the user where they are and what is within a short walk in clear, readable graphics (above right).

Katz also designed another wayfinding project called the Ride!Philadelphia transit portals project that will debut in September 2008.

Click on the heading above to go to Joel Katz' website.

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