Interacting with Environments through Typography, Color, and Form: Experiential Graphic Design

Experiential Graphic Design (EGD) blends graphic design, architecture, and interior design to help our buildings’ users understand, navigate, and experience the built environment. EGD offers a high-impact tool for providing information, reinforcing brand identity, and assisting with wayfinding. In short, EGD aims to create a meaningful and memorable experience for people moving through a building.

Why EGD?
EGD elicits a response from the users of the space which impacts how they feel within the environments we create. Our designs can spark creativity or identify areas of collaboration in an office space or elementary school art room, or make a pediatric patient smile in a hospital. In the case of one recent project, the MUSC Children’s Health R. Keith Summey Medical Pavilion in Charleston, SC, large-format graphics featuring animals of the Lowcountry address the wayfinding needs of the space while also creating artwork that is interactive and exciting for its young patients- relieving stress for both patients and families. EGD, however, expands beyond wall graphics; it can also include 3D panels and signage systems, video/audio displays, and even commissioned artwork.

Benefits of a Holistic Approach
Ideally, the EGD process works hand-in-hand with the architecture and interior design process from the earliest stages of the project. When the EGD designer is involved from the beginning of the design process, the team can integrate EGD to help solve some of the design challenges of the space and be fully integrated into the design, rather than being an afterthought graphic that is applied at the end of construction.

Meeting the client at the beginning of the process also allows the designer to fully understand the project vision, resulting in graphics which truly reflect the client’s brand. Branding goes far beyond a company’s logo and Pantone color; when the built environment becomes an extension of the brand, EGD can reinforce the company’s values, mission, and vision in an authentic way that engages the user.

Design Process
The development of the EGD begins with the preliminary programming phase, during which the team will do a deep-dive into the client’s culture, identity, and mission. During the schematic design phase, the designer will work closely with the client to generate concepts for themes, locations, materials, and color palette, and these concepts will be refined and detailed at the design development stage. Once finalized, the EGD team will work closely with the project team and vendor for production an installation.

In-House Services
At LS3P, we offer EGD as an in-house service rather than engaging a third-party consultant. By providing EGD as an integral part of the architecture and interior design team, we have found that we can help mitigate additional fees by eliminating the need to contract with a consultant. Our clients also have a team member dedicated to, and focused on, creating graphics that enhance their building users’ experience within their space. In working with the design team from Day One and the earliest stages of visioning and concept development, the EGD specialist can provide a seamless design that is fully representative of the architectural/interior concept.

Potential Cost Benefits
Through EGD, we can provide solutions to large spaces such as K-12 campuses or hospitals by creating an intuitive wayfinding system which minimizes the need for an overly complicated signage package.  This strategy creates a cost benefit for clients while making the space intuitive, efficient, and welcoming.  Applied wall graphics are also cost-efficient options for creating experiences within our spaces, especially if the client is already considering a standard wallcovering. The investment a client makes in the added cost of custom graphics is invaluable in the functionality and experience it provides to their users.

EGD plays a critical role in how we use and experience the built environment around us. In providing high-impact, economical alternatives to standard wall coverings, signage, or branding elements, EGD is a powerful tool for communication. Designed and incorporated in tandem with the architecture and interior design, EGD can be transformative- not only for the client, but for all who will experience the building.

About Jen

Jennifer Boyles brings significant expertise in Experiential Graphic Design (EGD) including interactive wall graphics, wayfinding, and signage integrating with the architecture and interior design. A graduate of Appalachian Sate in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, Jennifer’s portfolio includes extensive graphic design experience as well as previous professional experience in retail display design/installation and project management for an international general contractor.

Jennifer, a member of the Society of Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), also serves as a Marketing Coordinator in LS3P’s Charleston office as an instrumental member of the firm’s marketing and graphic team.