Monday, March 9, 2015

Designing for the Client's Client - The Art of Wayfinding

According to Wikipedia, "Wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people and animals orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place."  Wayfinding is an ancient skill that has transformed over the years into an artform in the design world.

When designing hospitality and commercial spaces, not only is the design important for aesthetics and function, it is important for guidance and comfort.  When a user of the space, a patron of the company, feels uncomfortable or lost, the feeling is then reflected on the business itself.  American & International Designs, Inc. prides itself on thinking about not just the client but the client's clients.  

There are many factors that go into wayfinding design - the color and style of the space, fonts, materials, size and placement to name a few.  There are standard signs as well, like the red "exit" sign we are all used to seeing.  However, the fun and the challenge is to help guide patrons throughout the space so that they feel confident and comfortable being a part of the establishment.

This is a main room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island that connects to many smaller congregating areas.  In the photos below, you can see the hanging signs used to designate these areas.  We chose wooden signs with gold lettering to match the rich, decadent design of the space.

 The FirePlace Nook at the Hilton Garden Inn - Staten Island

The Wine Room at the Hilton Garden Inn - Staten Island 

Take a look at the door on the far right.  The gold flashing on the bottom of the door and at face level helps it to stand out just enough to draw your eye when you are looking for it but not enough for it to take away from the ambiance of the space. 

Looking at the far right of this photo you will see a small sign on the wall just above the chair.  This sign is denoting the conference room behind the glass.  

In many ways these are the very small details in designing a space but they are by no means minute.  Wayfinding is a skill that is mastered over time and thinking through the use of a space is something special that American & International Designs, Inc. loves to offer its clients....and, most importantly, their clients.  

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