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The Wayfinding Handbook: Information Design for Public Places

de David Gibson

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Where am I? What can I do here? Where can I go from here? How do I get out of here? Consciously or not, we ask such questions every day as we navigate the places and spaces of our lives. Whether we find ourselves in a museum, hospital, airport, mall, or street in an unfamiliar city, we depend on systems of visual, audible, and tactile cues not only to lead the way, but also to keep us safe. They are the fundamental questions of wayfindinga process that encompasses both the experience of choosing a path within a built environment and the set of design elements that aid in such a decision. A decade ago, the professional practice of wayfinding design simply involved devising sign systems. Today, the field is much broader and continues to expand to address technological developmentskinetic media, GPS systems, web connectivity, smart materialsas well as cultural changes in areas such as branding and environmental awareness. Similarly, a cross-disciplinary familiarity with graphic, architectural, landscape, interior, industrial, and information design has become an essential requirement of twenty-first-century wayfinding design. The Wayfinding Handbook is an exciting new volume in our acclaimed Design Briefs series. Professional wayfinding designer David Gibson draws on more than thirty years of experience collaborating with architects, planners, developers, managers, and civic leaders to offer an insider's view of this rapidly evolving discipline. Using real-life examples, Gibson illustrates the way type, color, mapmaking, dimensional forms, material selection, and new media are used to create effective wayfinding systems. The Wayfinding Handbook is a complete guide to the discipline, from planning and design to practical considerations, such as setting up teams and managing projects. "Other Voices" sidebars, presentedthroughout the book, reveal the opinions of experts who plan, manage, and shape wayfinding projects. A comprehensive bibliography and gallery of resources round out what is likely to become the go-to resource for students, professionals, or anyone charged with designing people-friendly, universally accessible environments.… (més)
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Solid, brief overview of wayfinding. Good for a design student needing a primer on the industry, perhaps; I, however, was hoping for a little bit more the psychology and sociology behind the decisions people make when getting around. What directions or heights do people look at? What about that area of design that subconsciously steers people, like a patterned floor that angles towards the route most people need? That sort of thing.

The book starts with a little historical context for this niche industry and some notes on education and training to work in this field. The middle chunk looks at colors and typography and such considerations, providing numerous photographic examples, though not often with the amount of explanation I would have liked. The last fourth of the book really drifted away from my interests, getting fabrication concepts and materials, notes on supervising construction of signage, etc.

Ironically, for a book on wayfinding that even starts with a comparison to the legibility and meaning of written language, some pages could stand to be reworked for better flow. The worst was a page that discusses Shea Stadium signage: I missed the first 5 lines of text on that page because they were tucked away at the bottom-left column under 2 large photographs! Others were just placed distractingly, and not all images are captioned. ( )
  elam11 | May 30, 2020 |
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Foreword: Exiting the subway in the middle of a city or stepping off the elevator onto a strange floor is momentarily disorientating: you scan the space to figure out where you are and find clues that will lead you where you want to go.
Preface: The Wayfinding Handbook is intended to be a user's guide to the art and science of the specialized design discipline that has occupied me for the better part of the past thirty years.
The heart of a civilization throbs wherever people come together to work, play, shop, study, perform, worship, or just interact.
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Where am I? What can I do here? Where can I go from here? How do I get out of here? Consciously or not, we ask such questions every day as we navigate the places and spaces of our lives. Whether we find ourselves in a museum, hospital, airport, mall, or street in an unfamiliar city, we depend on systems of visual, audible, and tactile cues not only to lead the way, but also to keep us safe. They are the fundamental questions of wayfindinga process that encompasses both the experience of choosing a path within a built environment and the set of design elements that aid in such a decision. A decade ago, the professional practice of wayfinding design simply involved devising sign systems. Today, the field is much broader and continues to expand to address technological developmentskinetic media, GPS systems, web connectivity, smart materialsas well as cultural changes in areas such as branding and environmental awareness. Similarly, a cross-disciplinary familiarity with graphic, architectural, landscape, interior, industrial, and information design has become an essential requirement of twenty-first-century wayfinding design. The Wayfinding Handbook is an exciting new volume in our acclaimed Design Briefs series. Professional wayfinding designer David Gibson draws on more than thirty years of experience collaborating with architects, planners, developers, managers, and civic leaders to offer an insider's view of this rapidly evolving discipline. Using real-life examples, Gibson illustrates the way type, color, mapmaking, dimensional forms, material selection, and new media are used to create effective wayfinding systems. The Wayfinding Handbook is a complete guide to the discipline, from planning and design to practical considerations, such as setting up teams and managing projects. "Other Voices" sidebars, presentedthroughout the book, reveal the opinions of experts who plan, manage, and shape wayfinding projects. A comprehensive bibliography and gallery of resources round out what is likely to become the go-to resource for students, professionals, or anyone charged with designing people-friendly, universally accessible environments.

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