A Dimensional Approach

As humans, we use imagery and written language as a form of communication, and have done so throughout history. Whether it be hieroglyphics, Aztec drawings, digital web banners or printed posters - we can receive direct messages visually instead of verbally.

Graphic design and visual communication is predominantly used both in advertising and wayfinding for public spaces. Environmental and wayfinding designers use art, graphics and sculpture to successfully communicate to an audience. The designers key aim is usually to direct, sell, inform or engage to maximise the chance of sending a message to the target audience.

Leonard Bruce Archer CBE was a British Mechanical Engineer and later Professor of Design Research at the Royal College of Art who championed research in design said “…the way designers form images in their mind’s eye, manipulating and evaluating ideas before, during and after externalising them, constitutes a cognitive system comparable with but different from, the verbal language system. Indeed we believe that human beings have an innate capacity for cognitive modelling, and its expression through sketching, drawing, construction, acting out and so on, that is fundamental to human thought.”

Environmental and signage designers meticulously think about the interior and exterior of a building. More specifically, the spatial awareness and materials that are used whether they be interactive and/or tactile to best convey the message they are trying to put across.

Working on the Liverpool FC new Main Stand environmental graphics and wayfinding signage over the past year has expanded my knowledge and skills as a previous two-dimensional digital and print graphic designer. I have learnt that it takes a wealth of hands-on experience to fully understand the fundamentals of how to design in three dimensions successfully. We have to consider the locations, installation and process of designed items, developing, producing and analysing materials and samples, and think carefully about the health and safety aspect in public areas for access and egress before producing the final installed piece.

Wayfinding and signage can depreciate and spoil spaces if minimal thought has gone into designing them or produced without longevity of design or durability of materials.  We need to carefully consider and incorporate the designs to compliment the space making it visually appealing, and in turn enabling and enhancing the user experience.


Related articles