The ‘+’ elements of design are features, largely a combination of components that are engaging and enlightening to the user, over and above the design of a workspace. These elements are strong pieces of art that communicate a message.
Ever thought about your impressions of a place, any place- a workplace, a museum, a resto-bar, anything. What is it that you like about it? Is it its functionality, design, aesthetics? In all probability, it is a sum total of all elements; essentially, how the place makes you feel. It is not one aspect, but all of them neatly bundled together, to create an elevated experience; and there is nothing like graphics to up the ante. Not plain old 2D or 3D graphics, but environmental graphics or design+ elements. Having gone beyond addressing the basic needs of identification / signages and wayfinding, environmental graphics or design+ elements are very well on its way to becoming the digital interface of the public facing part of the smart cities.
While still evolving, the role of environmental graphic design (EGD) in user experiences within the built environment has become absolutely vital. A combination of multiple disciplines, EGD enhances user experience through visual, tactile and sound translation of ideas in the built environment. It could be a simple signage or super graphics or art installations or a wall mural, a display, or an exhibit, interactive walls, textured treatments, metal installations, wall graffiti, 3D prints that enhance the experience of the space. What is relevant is that its an incredible visual means of bringing a space to life and involves any combination of your senses.
With the increase in digital technology and how content, motion and interaction can enhance user experience between people and spaces, interactive media is playing a larger role in environmental graphic design. More than ever, people can become a part of your brand by engaging them through virtual reality, video games, animation, and video. By creating this two-way communication, as opposed to the one-way communication of traditional environmental graphic design, you are able to trigger human sensory touchpoints such as sound, touch and sight, which increases the effectiveness of your space to create a lasting impression.
It is all about seamlessly communicating with you from literal to abstract, to addressing a specific purpose: to brand, identify, give direction, inform and visually improve an environment.
Used previously from a pure marketing and sales perspective, speaking mainly to an external audience, it is now incorporated to communicate company values, history, and culture to both potential recruits who visit an office as well as employees. There is an increased emphasis on the importance of EGD to capture employees’ attention and engage them with the culture and EGD can help through visual depiction of the said values, to how the workplace influences organizational culture and can even create new behaviors.
- Better Brand Image
It is no hidden fact that human beings are largely visual learners, and therefore are almost instantaneously captivated by the graphic displays they notice when they enter a commercial space. Hence, more and more firms are now adopting new environmental design strategies to ensure attract, engage, and impress a potential client or existing customer that walks in through the door.
- Enhances Productivity
Some businesses inherently require their employees to perform repetitive or mundane tasks, which may lead to a feeling of boredom. On the other hand, some people work in high-stress workplaces such as Law Firms, Financial Advisories etc. In both these cases, it becomes essential for the organizations to keep their employee morale high and ensure optimal productivity. Fortunately, this can be easily accomplished by incorporating environmental graphics such as pictures or even LED displays of enticing sunrises, of vast skies, of active wildlife and of lush greens!
- Fuels Creativity
When it comes to art rooms, marketing, and advertising agencies, architecture and interior design firms, etc., the use of stimulating environmental graphics including bright colours and vivid designs, has affirmed the growth of creativity.
- Improves well being
It can improve employee wellbeing, through use of bright colours, vibrant wall and floor graphics, and in some cases soothing music, to instill a feeling of well-being in a person, especially in an otherwise seemingly intimidating environment, such as that of a hospital, a career counselling centre, a therapist, etc.
- Improves Sense of Community
Places like schools, colleges, stadiums, auditoriums where members are required to mingle with each other, environmental graphics help create a sense of belongingness, and that of being one with the community as a whole, thereby helping these spaces accomplish their goals.
In an era dominated by the digitization of a wide array of businesses, environmental graphics help enhance the appeal of brick and mortar spaces. They help businesses and other commercial and community spaces to kick-start a dialogue with the people involved in a subtle yet impressive way, thereby enhancing the overall experience of each user and visitor. What a brand chooses to showcase through environmental graphics at the workplace talks a lot about the brand itself. Environmental graphic design is about integrating a story with the built environment to create a memorable experience- the difference between a great and wow experience.