Straight forward-how wayfinding works and why strategy matters

Date: 11 July 2024
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Online via Zoom
Past event

Thursday, 11 July (1pm BST)

Wherever people gather, wayfinding can be the difference between order and chaos. It’s the unsung hero of the built environment. For wayfinding to work properly, it needs to have a strategy, plastering a site with signs or not signing at all can be equally bewildering for people. Creating a wayfinding strategy means thinking about . . .

  • Architecture- how buildings and spaces work.
  • Graphic design- typography, mapping, use of icons and colour.
  • Information design- information hierarchies and flow.
  • Product design and engineering- materials, processes and construction methodologies.
  • Human behaviour- how people interact with spaces and working with intuition.

It’s a fascinating and complex process.

So after nearly 50 years of combined experience we are sharing our joy, wisdom and insight for this place making puzzle by writing a book about it. In our book, we’ve broken down the mechanics of wayfinding strategy, from theory to design and from physical to digital. We’ve covered . . .

  • Placemaking and sense of place- how we find our way- wayfinding theory, intuition and expectation, visitor journeys, cognitive mapping and decision making.
  • Strategy – site analysis and ergonomics, vistas and sighlines, scale and sign families.
  • Clear, coherent and consistent- zoning, phased information release, positive vs negative messaging, cherance, responding to place and architecture, context, language and numbering, typical and exceptional.
  • Longevity, wayfinding that lasts- flexibility, day 2, technology, sustainability, materiality.
  • Accessibility, wayfinding for everyone- best practice, contrast and reflectivity, consistency, mapping, braille and tactile, iconography.
  • Cartography- mapping, scale, scope, orientation, content.
  • Digital, a work in progress- technologies, screens, flexibility, costs, screens vs handheld, connectivity, wayfinding and Ai.
  • How it all comes together- cast of characters, project management, implementation

This is obviously too much to cover in one go, even for wayfinding enthusiasts, so we will focus on placemaking and sense of place and delve into that in some detail.

We are not so presumptuous as to think that ours is the only way to design wayfinding schemes, it’s what we’ve learnt and what has worked for us over the years . . . and it really is straight forward.

About our speakers

Patrick Eley. Patrick has a fascination with places and how they are created, branded and navigated. With degrees in geography and graphic design, he started his career at  the National Theatre before spending seven years at cultural heavyweight, Spin. With over 25 years in the industry, Patrick has worked with architects, developers, businesses and governments to create impactful and nuanced work that enhances the sense of place. He leads the creative direction of all, wayfinding projects at DNCO from museums and galleries to corporate headquarters and pushes innovation across the studio, ensuring outputs truly reflect the ambitions of clients.

Alan Stevenson. Alan has 37 years experience in developing and implementing wayfinding schemes and is the driving force behind DNCO’s critical wayfinding thinking. Alan is a founder of the Sign Design Society. Alan brings a rigorous strategic approach to each project, ensuring each site is comprehensively signed and that building users are provided with the information they need at the time they need it to navigate with confidence.His knowledge of materials and processes is a vital asset to the production of finished signs. Alan has worked on a wide range of wayfinding projects: hospitals and clinics;  business and retail parks; shopping and conference centres; corporate and national government headquarter; clinics and hospitals; universities, schools and colleges; urban centres and national parks.