Have you ever heard about Environmental Graphic Design? It is also known as an EGD in the design industry and it recently engaged a lot of interest.
Actually, not many people know the exact meaning of Environmental Graphic Design and this is the main reason why you need a breakdown with all the concepts and notions that can help you understand the purposes of EGD.
Starting with very basic concepts such as the definition of the term and continuing with relevant terms that have to do with EGD, this article is going, to sum up the necessary information a graphic designer needs to assimilate about this topic.
After reading the article, you can expand your working field by specializing in Environmental Graphic Design and follow a career in this direction. Remember that this is a subsection of regular graphic design and you should have basic knowledge of graphic design in order to understand it. Here are the things you may want to know:
What does environmental graphic design mean?
Environmental Graphic Design is also known as experiential and it refers to a field that is based on traditional graphic design and other industries that include visually pleasing principles such as architecture, public art, urban planning.
Even though the concept was built on regular principles of traditional graphic design, it promotes experimenting with other sorts of principles and tools, to give birth to a multidisciplinary outcome, combining the best parts of different industries to create art.
The purpose of EGD is the same – but a little bit more extensive – as the same of regular graphic design which is to transmit a message and efficiently communicate identity. Shaping ideas and expressing emotions through graphic design is the main reason why people use visuals instead of text. EGD follows the same criterion, but it extends it to more than just that.
What is specific about Environmental Graphic Design is that it usually helps people connect with a certain place. Experience is thus connected to place instead of idea.
EGD finds its origins back in the prehistorical phase when Neanderthals told their stories by drawing on walls. That is the only proof people have on how people lived back then.
Modern EGD follows the exact same principle – using visuals to tell a story that people in a certain location can relate with.
Environmental Graphic Design is based on wayfinding, which represents the process of understanding space. The space around a person is perceived in subjective ways that have to do with each one’s opinion, culture, preferences and so on. Wayfinding is also the process of engaging with the space in a more efficient way.
EGD includes designing signage and information systems, that should play the role of a mental map which is easier to follow.
SEGD – Society for Environmental Graphic Design
SEGD translates as the Society of Environmental Graphic Design and it represents an association where people who create experiential design gather together, share their ideas and transform the world in a better place by developing wayfinding systems and other environmental graphic design projects.
The members of SEGD are diverse; they all have knowledge in traditional graphic design and experiential graphic design and they work with all sorts of content related to this subdomain.
People who want to take part in SEGD are welcomed to join, can sign up anytime and can make use of the many free materials that the platform is offering to encourage experiential graphic design.
SEGD organizes a yearly event called SEGD Global Design Awards which features different applied themes in EGD. People can submit their work to this competition and Honor & Merit awards are going to be offered to the best participants.
Architectural spaces – museum exhibits
EGD includes a subsection that refers to designing museum exhibitions. This subsection is also known as architectural space design and has many more other intricacies to be discovered. Museum exhibits and commercial exhibits in general have to attract the eye.
The public must be visually appealed by what it sees. Yet there is a major difference between these types of exhibits in the sense that museum ones have a sole purpose – transmitting education, expression, information – while commercial ones are only financial-oriented.
Even though it might be difficult to acknowledge the missions of each exhibit, the process behind them remains the same, which is expressing an idea with the help of visuals.
Of course, a huge impact on museum exhibitions is held by modernism and neo-modernism. The conventional image of a museum is no longer the one we know.
Designing displays have to follow a set of rules that are chosen according to the trends promoted nowadays. Without respecting this trends – but in a unique manner – the design won’t be appreciated at its real value.
The one difference between retail graphic design and commercial graphic design is that, in the case of retail, you have to sell through space.
Moving people through the use of space and making them feel emotions through retail design is an absolute necessity.
Designing retail is the same as any other subcategory of Environmental Graphic Design. Location is everything – the designer has to find creative ways to present the space, to make it appealing to the public.
Besides visually appealing, space also has to be efficient and intuitive. Without these last features, you risk having a lot of clients not understand what you are supposed to transmit, which means you won’t fulfill your original purpose.
A simple visit to the mall will give you the best possible picture of retail design. Pay attention to the way a brand is sold through image. Enter a fashion store and look at the way everything is designed – visually pleasing photography, catchy fonts, wall designs, floor designs – all gathered in one single space.
The moment your foot enters the door you instantly see the style of the designer who made everything possible. The same effect should go for you.
Retail design is about attracting eyes and making clients feel comfortable in the respective space.
Placemaking and Identity
This one is similar to retail design, but it is mostly used for events and public spaces. The main purpose of placemaking and identity is to make people aware of the space they are in and to remember it accordingly.
Environmental Graphic Designers who work with placemaking and identity can make use of colors, patterns, video, motion, fonts and other sorts of graphic details in order to differentiate a certain place. This creates a strong sense of identity among the people who visit this place.
Placemaking and identity EGD is essential for urban/civic events.
All being said…
Now that you know most things about Environmental Graphic Design, what is your opinion? Do you think you’d prefer working with such projects instead of traditional graphic design?
What would the benefits be? But what about the drawbacks?
You should know whether you are interested in this topic or not by now. If you think you need more information on similar topics, don’t forget to check out other similar articles on this website and expand your knowledge horizon.
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