PAM Series #7: Managing Design

Last week we discussed how your plans of action should work from a ‘splice’ of the campus. This splice is designed to give you an idea of the university space, how it interacts and the sorts of approach you can take in each area. Once you have this all plotted out, however, you must work out how to utilise to impact your design. Having discovered the nuances and elements of the campus, best way to do this is a three-stage process of sanity checking your signage suite.

1. On the floorplan. Here you get a high level of where you should logically be placing wayfinding around your space. At this point, you understand your university visitors and the behaviours you’re encouraging. Designing the wayfinding journey, they’ll can have significant power in enabling these behaviours.

To do this, you need someone with the experience to make calls and see the pitfalls. The conditional logic we referenced in our piece last week is something well known to the experienced wayfinding designer. By predicting issues, preparing options and understanding the space you can adapt a smaller suite to a higher number of uses. Having fewer signs, in turn, decreases production costs, simplifies management and ensures long-term viability and wayfinding integrity.

2. In the studio. You or your wayfinding designers have likely done this before but creating a smart campus means profoundly understanding the process. Wayfinding isn’t an art that was built in a day, and it’s unlikely your signage suite will be created that quickly either.

3. On the site. Go into space with your signage suite plans in hand and look at the spaces where those will go in. Checking this works on a practical level will save you hours and thousands of dollars by avoiding installation issues. In new buildings, the power is yours to design; you can keep wayfinding needs in mind while designing and carry those principles into your signage suite. When you’re working with old buildings, you’re more at their mercy. There are environmental factors that influence the application of your design, and these are almost inevitable. It’s unlikely you’re working with a university that’s all new or old buildings, so the real trick is being able to implement one signage set in both spaces.

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