March 10, 2019

What is Environmental Graphic Design? Part 3: EGD can be Expressed in Many Ways

A gateway sign at Liberty Station in San Diego, California.

Environmental graphic design’s greatest asset may be its willingness to adapt to a wide variety of situations, materials, and processes. Because EGD is focused on the communication of creative ideas, the ways in which it can be expressed are limitless. This adaptability also creates a rich environment for the use of emerging technologies, materials, and ways of engagement. Some users might think only of signage within the realm of EGD, but there are numerous other applications in which EGD designers convey connections to the environment. We’ve compiled a glossary to help convey some of the ways environmental graphic design is expressed and integrated into the built realm:


Feature Beacons, Custom Lighting, Paving and Crosswalk Graphics, Murals & Wall Art, Sculpture, Educational & Interpretive Signage, Banners, Architectural Follies, Art Masterplans, Custom Furniture, Kiosks, Brand Palettes


Project Identity Monument, Tenant Monument, District/Zone/Neighborhood Identity, Vehicular Directional, Parking Directional, Street Name Identity, Regulatory Signage, Pedestrian Directional, Project Directory, Advertising Kiosk, Trail Markers, Addresses, Building Identity, Parapet/Rooftop Feature Signage, Bike Path Identity, Temporary Signage/Graphic Installations, Barricade Graphics, Tenant Signage, Digital Applications


Entry Door Graphics, Project Directory, Advertising Kiosk, Pedestrian Directional, Information Identity, Restroom Identity, Stair and Elevator Identity, Amenity Identity, Escalator Level Identity, Room Plaques, Evacuation Map, Egress Signage, Donor Recognition Sign


Entry Identity, Marquee Blade, Clearance/Exit Bars, Car Count Digital Signage, Feature Wall Directional, Suspended Vehicular Directional, Column Level/Zone Identity, Elevator Core Identity, Pedestrian Directional, Reserved Parking Identity, Paving Graphics, Stair Identity, Room Plaque, Bike Parking Identity, Pay Kiosk Identity


Fascia Signage, Blade Sign, Canopy and Awning Signs, Window Graphics, A-Frame Sign, Barricade Graphics, Menu Board, Inlaid Paving

The environmental graphic elements above represent a small amount of the creative elements that can be engaged with the built environment. While signage may be perceived as the most common EGD component, there are many other dynamic possibilities to express a brand or an emotion and make a connection with the users of a space. The integration of environmental graphic design does not happen in a bubble and when teams collaborate and work together, places become elevated into memorable experiences.

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