What is Environmental Design?

Published by Philip Lenger on March 12, 2012 - 0 comments

We consider ourselves part of an industry which is sometimes referred to as Environmental Design. This community is a very broad group which includes Architects, and other designers of the Retail, Interior, Graphic, Wayfinding, Themed Environment and Industrial specialties. All of these people work in the design and execution of the physical world; spaces, places and objects that shape everything we see and feel when we experience environments.

We like to refer to Environmental Design as the Human Interface for a Physical Place. In the technology industry, a computer or phone app will have a human interface – the component that allows a human to communicate with the computer. Likewise, in the physical world, everyplace we visit has it’s own human interface – the signs, materials and forms which make it easy or hard to navigate around, the decoration which makes us feel happy or uncomfortable, the lighting and sound which uplifts us or can make a place feel sad and drab. Good designers can craft these elements to the advantage of the place, enhancing the experience.

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During my recent term on the Board of Directors of SEGD, we worked a lot towards identifying and promoting excellence in the area of Environmental Design – I recommend looking into this organization for those looking to network more with others in this arena. There is so much to learn from talking and working with designers from other disciplines.

So what does this have to do with Digital Signs?
At Show+Tell, we believe that great digital signs become useful and contributing members of their environments. Bad digital signs are quickly perceived as noise and become an eyesore, detracting from the surroundings. If the video program does not attempt to enhance the viewers experience of the place, then it is gratuitous and disrespectful. Great digital signs enhance and add value to the human experience.

If digital signs are to be included in a space, its’ properties like size, shape, brightness, and content must be considered as closely as an architect would consider his form and materials.

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