Recently, the World Design Organization (WDO)® designated San Diego (USA) and Tijuana (Mexico) as the first binational region for the World Design Capital 2024. These cities are recognized for their commitment to human-centered design and a legacy of cross-border collaboration.
World Design Organization (WDO)® is an international non-governmental organization and the international voice for industrial design. Every two years, the WDO selects a place to be named the World Design Capital. The destination must effectively use design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. It is an honorable recognition that embodies how design is a powerful tool in communities and the built environment.
The recent announcement of the WDO’s selection of San Diego and Tijuana as the World Design Capital has sparked a great amount of excitement and inspiration in our studio. For decades now, RSM Design has collaborated on a multitude of environmental graphic design projects in the San Diego region, including the San Ysidro Border Crossing which connects southern San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico. We are humbled to contribute to the success of design in San Diego and are extremely excited that the World Design Organization has placed such a remarkable honor on the destination.
Here are a few of the past, present, and up and coming projects that RSM Design has had the joy to be involved with in San Diego:
San Ysidro Port of Entry
As the largest land border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, and the fourth-busiest land crossing in the world, it was critical for RSM Design to approach the San Ysidro Port of Entry project with a human-centered design approach. The design team worked to develop a color-coded set of icons and bilingual information to create a legible and consistent layout for wayfinding at the site. A key aspect of the design process was several stakeholder workshops in which the designers engaged with community leaders and members of the public to address the needs at the border crossing. During those guided conversations, the team studied the overall feelings towards the former destination. Attributes such as confusing and unsafe bubbled to the surface, making it clear to the team that the wayfinding signage would need to create clarity at the site– ultimately leading to a safer overall environment.
Balboa Park Signage Masterplan
In 1835, Balboa Park in San Diego was designated as one of the country’s oldest historical sites for public recreational use. Today, the destination draws over 10 million visitors a year, and with a large number of guests, there was a strong need for a comprehensive signage and wayfinding system. RSM Design collaborated with several stakeholders for Balboa Park to conduct a full site analysis of existing signage, identify areas for improvement, and craft new design guidelines for signage and wayfinding at the park. The messaging is simple yet modern, historically inspired, and overall contributes to providing an enhanced guest experience.
UC San Diego Dining Hall at Sixth College
UC San Diego is nestled in the seaside town of La Jolla and just 15 miles from downtown San Diego. The four-year university is one of the world’s leading public research universities and has rapidly grown in number of students over the past few years. RSM Design was invited to craft several new brands– including logo designs and signage for the built environment– for a new dining hall located on campus. The ultimate goal was for each dining venue to feel like its own uniquely branded restaurant, while also paying close attention to an aesthetic appealing to a diversity of students and faculty.
One of the studio’s latest San Diego based projects is RaDD: The Research and Development District located in downtown San Diego. Once built, the space will have panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and feature a life science campus, lab spaces, retail, dining, and places for the community. The project comes out of a booming need for science and technology spaces in San Diego, as the region welcomes a large number of biotech brands. Currently, the design team is crafting a brand and logo design for The RaDD as well as future wayfinding and environmental graphics. The design character is inspired by science and nature while also implementing ideas about community and connectivity.
In addition to these four projects, see our complete list of San Diego projects.