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Image of an interior wayfinding sign on a wall at a dental clinic.
Education
September 29, 2022

Healthcare Wayfinding & The Brand Promise

At RSM Design, our people-centered approach to wayfinding begins by identifying unique experience points within the patient and visitor journey where people engage directly with the healthcare brand by moving through or interacting with the built environment.

Better wayfinding can provide patients and visitors confidence and certainty in healthcare spaces.

With the pace of change in the healthcare market, a focus on creating environments that promote human connection have driven the need for a more unified brand voice and comprehensive wayfinding strategy. Central to this approach is building a framework of user experience points throughout the journey from pre-arrival brand introduction to on-site lasting brand impressions. Examination through this lens allows insight into the experience of patients, visitors and staff and their unique physical, spatial, emotional and mental needs at each juncture, and that can be positively enhanced by a supportive built environment. 

By making the patient and visitor experience more intuitive and less stressful, a comprehensive and strategic wayfinding strategy can alleviate the anxiety that comes with uncertainty.

At RSM Design, our people-centered approach to wayfinding begins by identifying unique experience points within the patient and visitor journey where people engage directly with the healthcare brand by moving through or interacting with the built environment. Each step of that journey is an opportunity to empower patients and visitors with agency and give them choices that inspire confidence and create a more positive experience.

 

These “experience points” along the journey fall into three main categories:


Pre-Visit: Planning & First Brand Impressions

Because a patient’s typical experience with hospitals and clinics begins well before they visit, a good wayfinding strategy is not limited to creating clear information and intuitive visual cues within the space itself. It must also include interactive digital tools such as a wayfinding app and web presence that provide step by step instructions from driving to the final appointment destination. Comprehensive wayfinding also entails working with local municipalities to approve branded experience points on roadways and off-site locations.

These and other wayfinding strategies reinforce the healthcare provider’s brand identity and help realize their goals as they may improve the experience of patients and visitors.

The ideal pre-visit experience is developed alongside the on-site strategy. It not only informs patients and visitors of what to expect on arrival, but also orients them by integrating the wayfinding visual language throughout the site.

Experience Points: Brand, Planning, Travel, Campus Approach

On-Site: An Integrated Approach to Wayfinding

The transition from pre-visit to on-site experience must be as seamless as possible. From the moment patients and visitors enter the property, it should be clear what they need to do next. An effective wayfinding strategy provides a sense of certainty to patients and visitors by considering every aspect of that experience, including site design and architecture, landscape elements, vehicular traffic flow, parking, building identification, lobby orientation, interior navigation, and, notably, cultural context.

At every step, it is essential to empower patients and visitors with choices in how they receive the wayfinding information — even a subtle or unconscious choice can help create a more positive experience. Good on-site wayfinding doesn’t assume a particular “type” of patient. Rather, it accommodates people of all ages, abilities, and demographics by communicating information in multiple ways at once through color coding, alpha-numeric systems and graphic symbols, as well as opportunities for human interaction. This redundancy instills confidence and makes moving through a healthcare campus much more intuitive.

Effective information design is woven into the very fabric of the surrounding environment, and is ideally implemented in coordination with new buildings and/or landscapes. When that is not possible, it should reinforce the architecture and overall planning strategy to create memorable and user-friendly places. When these elements are properly integrated, patients and visitors can quickly and intuitively create mental maps to more easily find their way around large and complex spaces.  

Experience Points: Campus Arrival, Navigation & Parking, Building Entry Approach, Interior Entry Arrival, Destination Navigation & Arrival, Transformative Experiences

Post-Visit: Extending the Patient and Visitor Experience

Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX, RSM Design


Why does this extended experience matter? In all of RSM Design’s projects, we hope to combine certainty, variety, and delight. These three design principles create rich, layered experiences rooted in basic physical, emotional, and mental needs. Meeting these needs can create a sense of fulfillment that results in a more positive experience — and a less stressful one.

A wayfinding expert or architectural graphic designer can be most useful when involved early in the branding process. At RSM, we offer branding and design services in addition to our wayfinding and experience design work. This lets us help hospitals and healthcare providers refine their brand identity to improve visibility and the patient experience. These services include creating interactive exhibits, donor recognition, memorable landmarks, community programming, and sensory interaction.

Experience Points: Departure, Next Steps, and Lasting Impressions

Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX, RSM Design

The Proof is in the Patient Experience

In healthcare environments, a less stressed patient means a less stressed staff, which means quantifiably better service and peace of mind for everyone involved. At RSM Design, our work is based on proven, evidence-based design practices. We conduct observational research - tracking the movement of patients, visitors and staff through space. We consider everything from circulation, operations, approach, site lines, traffic studies, environmental impact and pedestrian flows. We hold workshops with the community of users and stakeholders to understand their perspectives and needs before arriving at solutions. We have designed a methodology for testing through prototypes and survey users about their experience. We learn what works, what doesn’t, and how best to incorporate those lessons into our final strategy.

We have seen the difference that comprehensive and strategic wayfinding can make firsthand — in both smaller healthcare facilities, such the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and larger healthcare campuses like the Texas Medical Center. From single clinics to entire healthcare systems, effective wayfinding is essential for creating a truly transformative patient experience.

Looking to transform your patient experience and reinforce your brand strategy? Click here to view our previous work in healthcare design.

University of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, RSM Design
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Exterior of graphic at the BAR Center in Los Angeles, California.
Press
September 26, 2022

The BAR Center by the Beach Featured in Interior Design magazine

RSM Design was honored to join Belzberg Architects, Mathews Development Group and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles for this collaborative design for the BAR Center at the Beach in Venice, California. We are proud to participate in this spectacular facility that serves the greater Jewish community of Los Angeles. Our team worked alongside this team to develop the brand, wayfinding and integrated donor signage seamlessly into the building. We are excited to share this featured project in the latest Interior Design magazine.

RSM Design was honored to join Belzberg Architects, Mathews Development Group and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles for this collaborative design for the BAR Center at the Beach in Venice, California. We are proud to participate in this spectacular facility that serves the greater Jewish community of Los Angeles. Our team worked alongside this team to develop the brand, wayfinding and integrated donor signage seamlessly into the building. We are excited to share this featured project in the latest Interior Design magazine.

See our work with The BAR Center at the Beach in Los Angeles, California.
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Sydney Patterson of RSM Design joins SEGD board this is her at the design studio.
RSM Culture
September 23, 2022

Sydney Patterson joins SEGD as Chapter Chair

RSM Design is thrilled to announce that Sydney Patterson, Senior Designer at RSM Design, has joined SEGD OC as Chapter Chair. Sydney was named co-chair of the Orange County chapter of SEGD, along with Josh Huckleberry and Kathy Guerineau-Shook. SEGD, The Society for Experiential Graphic Design, is a non-profit professional association for graphic, information, media, interaction, exhibition and industrial designers, fabricators, architects, technology integrators, brand strategists, students, wayfinding specialists, and teachers.

RSM Design is thrilled to announce that Sydney Patterson, Senior Designer at RSM Design, has joined SEGD OC as Chapter Chair. Sydney was named co-chair of the Orange County chapter of SEGD, along with Josh Huckleberry and Kathy Guerineau-Shook. SEGD, The Society for Experiential Graphic Design, is a non-profit professional association for graphic, information, media, interaction, exhibition and industrial designers, fabricators, architects, technology integrators, brand strategists, students, wayfinding specialists, and teachers.

Sydney has been involved with SEGD for over 7 years. During that time, she has built relationships with professionals in the environmental graphic design industry, collaborated with other creatives, and attended events across the country. She recently attended SEGD’s Experience Portland 2022 conference with a group of colleagues from RSM Design.

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Bright white interior with natural light and light wood architectural details
Education
April 22, 2022

Transformative Healthcare Environments

Healthcare and wellness environments are evolving and becoming more focused on the holistic user experience. Healers and caretakers are increasingly recognizing the impact of nature on the body and mind. As designers of the built environment we explore how to intertwine the places we visit regularly and the benefits we receive from nature.

Most of us experience transformative moments through travel, art, music, human relationships, nature, cultural and spiritual enrichment and we emerge as better people with the desire to recreate them. A truly transformative experience prompts a meaningful and lasting change in one's life.  We’ve all had them to some degree and they occur mostly at the subconscious level yet have profound impacts on us.  Can we even really articulate what we felt during or after that awe inspiring moment or do we just feel imprinted in some way that resets our perspective and the lens through which we experience life? At RSM Design, we are continually exploring the intersection of human behavior and design to ensure that we create emotionally resonant experiences through our work.

There is actually a neurological process taking place in the brain, specifically as it relates to our experiences in the natural and built environment, the places and spaces we inhabit each day. For this reason, healers and caretakers in healthcare are increasingly recognizing the impact and benefits of nature. According to, A Prescription for Nature, PaRx, an evidence-based nature prescription program that allows doctors to prescribe annual national park passes and weekly time in nature:

"People who spend at least two hours in nature each week report significantly better health and wellbeing."

"Backed by hundreds of studies over several decades, research suggests that connecting to nature is one of the best things you can do to improve your health." - A Prescription for Nature

Similarly, the concept of neuromorphic architecture explores how the built environment affects human emotions, behavioral, physiological responses and social relationships. We think, we feel and the body responds with a cascade of chemical and physiological responses. As part of our shared effort to improve human health and inspire healing, there is increasing momentum to design architectural features around and within buildings that support this process. An increasing amount of research establishes links between health outcomes and one’s experience of the built environment. As experiential designers, we can support elevated emotions through spaces filled with sensory rich features such as nature, art, music, intuitive wayfinding, communal space and human connection. At RSM Design, we connect people to places through branded environments, placemaking, wayfinding and signageOur goal is to move from transactional environments to transformative experiences.

Re-Making the Human Healthcare Experience

An inspiring example of a transformative approach to healthcare design is the new UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights in San Francisco designed by Herzog de Meuron and HDR.

“The Hospital of the Future must be a new kind of hospital. A more human experience. A natural environment. It’s a place that invites people in—patients, providers, and learners—and reflects the culture and diversity of its community.”

Image by Brand Bureau

UCSF underwent a visioning process to support a more imaginative based approach unencumbered by the boundaries of current day practices.  Experience guidelines were created and emotional benchmarks established throughout all transition points from arrival through recovery.  

Identifying how we want an environment to emotionally impact people is a powerful starting point for meeting the human needs of those we are designing for.  To be effective, RSM Design applies a Principle Centered Design approach to engage at every human level—the body, the mind, the heart and the spirit. It’s a whole-person approach that radically defines the work we do.  

The new hospital is envisioned to be a “Healing Habitat”, a holistic experience and environment that fosters wellness for all.  It will bring the outdoors inside with nature filled spaces, open and filled with natural light, views of outside, comfortable rooms that inspire healing, well thought out amenities and events for the community.

“The new hospital will provide an optimal healing environment that addresses social, psychological, spiritual, and behavioral components of health in one place” - UCSF

The University Children’s Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland - Designed by Herzog de Meuron
UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights in San Francisco - Designed by Herzog de Meuron and HDR

Transactional Environments to Transformative Experiences

The significant impact we can make as environmental graphic designers is to create transformative experiences. Architectural graphic design creates a strong sense of place, fulfills human needs, helps users find their way, and communicates a building’s narrative, fostering a strong connection between the person and place. To be effective, our work has to engage at every human level—the body, the mind, the heart, and the spirit.

The ultimate aim of these places is to encourage visitors to stay longer, enjoy the journey and feel connected and ultimately transformed after they have visited. Visitors gain a sense of place and community and identify with the environment as their own. They then want to share memories with others and encourage them to visit as well.

Cultural institutions are a good example of spaces that create resonance and memorable experiences. They instill reflection and quiet interaction. We often feel engaged mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically when located within a park setting that allows for movement and gathering spaces.

The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences - RSM Design integrated a graphic donor recognition and public art display in addition to an artful wayfinding design program that seamlessly blends with the architecture.
The BAR Center at the Beach - At this multi-use community center, RSM Design’s goal was to create a strong and beautiful environmental graphics system that highlights the values of the Jewish Federation and enlightens, empowers, and engages guests and visitors to the past and future of Jewish culture, history and donors.

At RSM Design, we work to design for health and wellbeing across all projects, including the hospital environment. In our Health & Wellness Practice, our focus is to reimagine and redefine the patient experience through our collaborative planning and design process to create a truly transformational experience. What better place than where we go to heal, to infuse a sense of elevated emotions, connection and possibility through the use of nature inspired forms, graphics, art and interactive moments to share personal healing stories and encourage community.

Healing Stories Exhibit provides a dedicated area within a healthcare space for a quiet moment of respite allowing for reflection, self-expression and pause.  Concept Visualization by RSM Design.

Landmarks become intuitive visual cues that serve as wayfinding elements reducing the amount of traditional signage and visual overload. Clear and cohesive wayfinding that is effective and planned strategically can significantly lower the level of stress a visitor brings to an appointment and increase satisfaction with the overall experience.

Biophilic artforms and textures integrated in the interior architecture evoke a connection with nature, as demonstrated through the flow of water and abstracted leaf patterns which also serve as intuitive wayfinding cues.  Concept Visualization by RSM Design.

Wayfinding can be approachable and empowering when we think outside of the box while still designing for certainty and orientation. Engaging and welcoming signage supports a life affirming experience and a sense of possibility.

In addition to wayfinding and identity, RSM Design curated a series of artful moments, including murals and art installations in collaboration with local artists, meant to inspire at Great Park Neighborhoods, The Pools, in Irvine, California.
RSM Design developed a master plan for this 242 acre mixed use site to include vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding that reinforced the project’s vibrant and modern brand rooted in wellness and activity at Frisco Station in Frisco, Texas.

Places have the power to become part of a person’s identity, particularly when they are authentic, when they stand for something. Making that connection requires a deeper level of sensitivity and understanding.  The relationship of architecture and graphic design is a symbiotic alliance that orients, informs, and delights. It’s a whole-person approach that radically defines the work we do at RSM Design.

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Person throwing a football at The Star in Frisco, Texas
Education
February 25, 2022

Enhancing the Fan Experience through Environmental Graphic Design

Over the years, the fan experience has expanded to be much more than a parking lot tailgate and the stadium hot dog (does anyone really like relish…?). Sports fans are desiring a holistic and elevated experience, often to keep them entertained for days at a time.

We are all fans of something. Sports teams, whether professional or local, have pulled heart-string connections from adolescence to adulthood. Memories are created from big wins, crunching on peanuts, and singing, “We are the champions…”. These moments have brought a sense of belonging to spectators all over the world. 

Over the years, the fan experience has expanded to be much more than a parking lot tailgate and the stadium hot dog (does anyone really like relish…?). Sports fans are desiring a holistic and elevated experience, often to keep them entertained for days at a time.

First and foremost, fans want a team to call their own and a stadium to visit. But these days they’re also looking for more: craft beers, shopping, easy transportation, music and entertainment, and a destination for a pre-game meet-up and a post-game celebration. These spaces have brought a refreshing energy to the sports stadium design itself and the surrounding real estate. 

The fan experience is something that RSM Design is striving to improve while enhancing the navigation and placemaking attitude of sports stadiums and adjacent mixed-use developments. Our portfolio of signage design projects have touched a number of professional sports teams and additionally our studio has now expanded with experts in the fan experience realm.

Elevating the Sporting Experience at The Star

Many can agree that the Dallas Cowboys have made a legendary name for themselves in the overall sports industry. From star quarterbacks to iconic playbooks to an elevated game-day experience, the Dallas Cowboys are essentially leading the pack on the fan experience.

The Star, in Frisco, Texas, is a 91-acre property that the Dallas Cowboys call home. A featured destination during the recent season of “Hard Knocks,” which premiered on HBO, highlighted the dynamic sports facility created for America’s Team. A true Texas destination, the project draws visitors from Dallas and beyond. RSM Design worked closely with the Jones family and a number of consultant teams to design an unforgettable fan experience that explores the legendary sports team’s history and future endeavors. 

Digital signage integration, sponsorship and donor recognition, sculptural art installations, hall of fame walks, arena wayfinding, graphics for plaza spaces, and wayfinding to Omni Hotel and a nearby sports medicine facility, combine to create multiple destinations throughout the project. Each of these pieces fit the puzzle we’re referring to as the fan experience: elevating spectators' experiences and encouraging them to return again, while also remaining authentically Cowboys inspired.

Guiding Fans from the Stadium to Dining + Entertainment at Hollywood Park

A state-of-the-art NFL stadium, home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, and host to the 2022 Super Bowl, SoFi stadium is adjacent to an entertainment destination known as Hollywood Park. Attending a sports game at SoFi is an experience in and of itself, while the nearby retail and restaurant district creates the ideal location for a post-game celebration. This holistic destination offers opportunities for fans to create memories inside and outside of the arena.

Spanning nearly 300 acres, a clear and cohesive wayfinding signage plan was critical in the destination’s curated experience. Our design team crafted a wayfinding strategy that clearly guides guests from SoFi to restaurants, shopping, and other entertainment at Hollywood Park. Through placemaking graphics and identity signage, the overall goal was to bring excitement from the guest’s initial arrival to their entire journey around the space.

As planning begins for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the destination anticipates to expand from approximately 70,000 capacity to over 100,000 for major events! Where are all of those people going to hang out pre- and post-events? Adjacent dining, retail, entertainment space seem like a great place to be.

Brand Activation at OC VIBE

A new destination in progress, situated near the Honda Center (home of the NHL Anaheim Ducks), Angel’s Stadium (home of the MLB Los Angeles Angels), and halfway between Los Angeles and Orange County, OC VIBE brings a bold entertainment-style living. This world class destination adjacent to MLB and NHL stadiums, as well as Disneyland, is set to become 95-acres of vibrant entertainment, retail, and mixed-use amenities. 

Tasked with crafting the overall brand vision and narrative, the design team studied entertainment culture and lifestyle of the surrounding area. Intended to bring hype and attraction to the development, the branding and identity design is inspired by movement and bold patterning. The vision sets an energetic tone, and a layered and kinetic motion expresses a passionate voice for people to come together and live boldly.

The project is utilizing the brand created by RSM Design to activate the space and bring awareness to the surrounding area. Branded collateral and marketing materials allow your audience to feel a part of something, as well as get your name out there and start building brand recognition.

As we head into the future of development, the team at RSM Design is working to reimagine and redefine the fan experience. This new vision will encourage guests to interact and engage with sport venues and entertainment districts in new and exciting ways.

At its core, the fan experience integrates sports and entertainment into the lifestyle and everyday encounters of the guests and cities they visit. It is centered around memories that go beyond the walls of the arena and leave fans feeling a part of something greater. Our team is focusing on the power of connection and bringing people together through the joy of big wins.

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Image of front entrance of Arkadia Shopping Center and people entering the mall.
Project Updates
December 16, 2021

Arkadia Wins Silver Global Design Award

RSM Design is excited to share that Arkadia, a mixed-use development in Medellin, Columbia has been recognized with a Silver Global Design and Development Award. Presented by ICSC at the recent Centerbuild conference, the award recognizes outstanding retail and mixed-use developments globally.

RSM Design is excited to share that Arkadia, a mixed-use development in Medellin, Columbia has been recognized with a Silver Global Design and Development Award. Presented by ICSC at the recent Centerbuild conference, the award recognizes outstanding retail and mixed-use developments globally.

We want to congratulate the design and development team, led by Spectrum in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and the Gensler team in New York City. ICSC also recognized the project with a "Sustainable Commendation", as this unique project prioritizes sustainable initiatives as design drivers, as well as crafting an aesthetic authentic to the natural landscape of Medellin.

View our Work at Arkadia
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