As a Semester long project, we were challenged to do something new with our university buildings way-finding systems.
The challenge with the Stamps School of Art and Design, is that it is a dark building with random bursts of lighting so its hard to see the current way-finding signs (which are dark brown with white lettering). I was interested in creating signs that would draw visitors' or students' attention as they walk into the school. So I created signs that are made of either colored plexiglass or thicker colored plastic or a touch screen tv screen which would be lit making it easy for viewers to find the the way-finding system to begin with.
Notice that each signs have a different color. The room titles that correlate with what is on the way-finding signs are also in the color represented. For me, one of the most difficult things in using way-finding systems is finding my orientation in the building relating to the map. But using pathways that are different colors to distinguish which direction you are facing with relation to the map should help the user figure it out much better.
The doors will be made of colored plexiglass - so that as light shines through from the classroom, it also adds to the colored environment I am trying to create for each hallway. Also, maybe this is just me but I often walk into the wrong class by accident, so this will allow me to see the classroom through the glass before I walk in on it and disturb class.
My way-finding system is completely centered around the map and pathways I created. As you can see there are 3 different colored lines I have created for the 1st floor and second floor. This allows for me to split each section of the school into thirds. Each way-finding sign, door title, and door corresponds to the colors of the line on my map. Each room is numbered - which is all that we are given as students to find our classrooms - you find the number under the list of room numbers. If you find it under the green line - then you look on the green path on the map and it will be located somewhere along there. Hopefully it allows students to find the location of their classroom on a map faster as well.
To make it as simple and as clear as possible, I also will use long strands of neon lights to go along the corner of the floor, so that the pathway can be illuminated for the user. This is helpful especially since the school is so dark. Doing this project I was highly inspired by James Turrell and I hoped to create colorful environments along my pathways, but I also want to be careful of electricity usage - so I limited it to the neon lights, the door titles, and the signs.
I thought for a while about whether to use arrows and icons for my way-finding system, however I really think icons make way finding even more confusing. I wanted this to be as clear as it can possibly be, so I directly wrote "Downstairs" or "Aisle 1" or "Bathroom" so that the users wouldn't have to think twice when using this system.
We were also asked to change the school in someway to make it a more inviting place for visitors and a more inspiring place for students - but it still had to work with the way finding systems we created.
I designed the school with different materials and with a clean white background allowing for new things to be printing onto the walls (like the map for example). The ceiling would be made of liner light colored hardwood and the ground would be made of dark marble. For me, nature is the most inspiring place to be, so I decided to bring it into the school so that we the students and future visitors don't feel like we are walking into a dull factory or prison. Also, all of the additional things that are on the walls of the school for no reason add unnecessary noise to the look of the school, so I took them all away and allowed for nice clean walls.