As humans have developed cities and built environments, we have also needed to develop ways to find our way through them. Sam Greenspan went on a wayfinding tour with Jim Harding in the Atlanta airport. Harding is one of the … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent invisible I'm roman Mars into doesn't five. I took a job at W B, easy in Chicago, and I was excited to be moving there excited about the job that force, but, is also very excited about the grid, the streets of Chicago in the address numbering system are beautiful, starting from the zero zero access point downtown the streets conform to a rigid grid pattern where the meat Your streets are exactly one mile apart and have addressed numbers will turn multiples of eight hundred. You don't really have to build a picture this, but I know that if you know it you're not in your hand vigorously, but just now, but it's amazing I was mesmerized by it, so much so that I made flashcards with sugar The street names on one side and the correspond address number on the other, so that my wife and I could quiz ourselves on this two thousand mile road trip from San Francisco to Chicago. Yes, I would
always like this division. Twelve hundred North Armitage is Two thousand north and therefore one mile north of division after living in the jumble of San Francisco streets for years, thought of moving to a place where people plan the city to help people know where they were and where they were going soon. My lizard brain and gay me, peace as humans have developed cities and built environment, we have also needed to develop ways to find our way through them sign It goes back at least as far as the roman empire bigger did milestones along their roadways, which is to say if you're, relying on anything besides natural features, to help you find your way around. You are relying on things made by people whose job it is is to help us figure out how to get from. All of our respective point is to our point: bees
our producers and Greenspan would like me to tell you that he has a fantastic sense of direction. I really do shore Lawson. Sometimes I admit it is the worst I get so myself on happens, but now my life is completely different. Ever since I started thinking about what it means that way, finding is in a in this sense, is a branch of environmental graphic design concerned with helping people find their way. I love of knowing this, because now, when I get lost or in a complicated freeway interchange or at an airport Have someone to blame as well look at that time. That has nothing to do with the savage user. Air does apply some terms, fair enough, let me introduce you to Jim Harding for money, Jim Harding. Environmental graphic designer. Basically I tell people were to go there's an environmental graphic designer or way find her or maybe just a kid with magic marker behind every side turn murder onto the one or one Congo
See. Is this way bathrooms straight ahead, but there is a lot lot Mord away. Finding than just signage signage is pro the least effective tool away. Funny good architecture is one of the best It's not that Jim hate signs, rather the best forms away finding are, shall we say, invisible their base, into the built environment. I first Jim Harding through a writer named David Zweig, I'm David's, like writer my book is called invisible. The our of anonymous work in an age of relentless self promotion, David's Wags book, is a series of portraits of people whom he refers to as invisible invisible are people who are highly skilled professionals, people who are really important to whatever enterprise or endeavour that there are part of that. Their work really has a big effect on the overall outcome, be who are largely the unknown, never thought of by the public or the end user,
Harding, director of environmental graphics for Gresham Smith and partners, is one such invisible. Jim parting is one of the best in the business Jim, work on the new international terminal at Hartfield Jackson, International Airport, in ITALY, in Georgia, the world's busiest One hundred million passengers move through it every year, all of them needing to know where to go silence or so at port. It conspicuous your destination, you'd have to rely on site, I meant Jimmy the Atlanta Airport and he walked me through some of the cutting edge way, finding techniques that he employed at the new international terminal like right. When you walk in from curbside the physical space tells you everything you to know about how to move through it without even realizing it but started the first thing you want you enter the airport that take account of their not locked up on you. Not degree access their angled, ok, a lot of times the ticket Canada,
meet you head on when you walk in and in your left to wonder: okay with the left or right where's, the sign for my gate, but these angled ticket counters push you in the right direction. Steers you. Down and around the ticket counter and heading toward the security check point as the counters pushing you you're, also getting pulled by this giant three, every glass window that looks out onto the tarmac you see planes. You see the apron. Jet way where the planes are parking, and so intuitively. We drawn to your on the that's. What you there, you wanna, get on a plane ride and there are less obvious cues too, like the tile pattern in the floor, absolutely we see the grid Instead of being b and knighted agree access, it's own, a forty five and these tiles going off at a forty five degree angle. They just beckon you to follow them, and so You do that. You inevitably head towards security, but there's even we're going on in the floor, the map and here's where this gets a little bananas. We around
The back here, Sammy see where the black starts at or there's another set of tiles inside the dominant grid pattern that I didn't even notice at first. It starts black. Then it's joined by a set of yellow goldfish tiles, the kind of cleaves out this coup order of negative space which cut straight through the hall going directly to security so far Emma ticket, I'm not checking any bags. I don't need to go check in on it on the counter. I just follow the yellow, brick road, so to speak, It's amazing, that's exactly what it is the elevator exactly what this is about. Yeah clicking lawyer, it's pretty cool and all this Jim says is one hundred percent intentional. Absolutely gratuitous honours through a number of flooring pattern, design schemes into arrived at this
on the other side of security. We enter what Jim Harding calls the transition ha. Here's, where a traveller has some decisions to make whether defined eight here or whether to get to another concourse you take a subway called the plane trained for that or whether to head the baggage claim. This is the part where passengers are gonna be asking themselves wherever. Where am I going? However, the best way to get there Does that in these places, where there are decisions to be made, this is where we re finding is needed, the most the other visual Way fighting, which is the signage you could see it, you can read it, you can interpret it find your way around. There's also, information desk and new fangled interactive display. I walk with Jim towards the gates Here's a seven nine. So it looks like the odds are on the left. Into the way funding to see where this concourse is pretty streamlined, elegant even
but at older, less well designed consequences which are definitely president, some other parts of the eighteen airport. This is where you find yourself in a visual morass. Using this before Leon signs and brightly coloured displays all trying to get you to buy magazines pillows or hot dogs, advertising. Yet concession Marketing the Germans compete with the primary message of just how to navigate airport, and so the key here is to make the signage stand out by being dull and drab, and playing with very neutral neutral, gray and white. Basically, so you can spot the science by tuning out all the glitzy. Now, even though this New international terminal is fairly minimal. There are still people trying to sell you stuff just beyond the transition hall towards the gates. There's this to level commerce area their shopping.
Level and then up and escalator are some food options and, of course it's all angled perfectly. So you have direct line of sight into all the shops azure walking by then unintentional, designed to have a shopping down below in the food of above. Yes, wiser will war curve appeal for years. You tell tenants, people or their hungry they're gonna go find the food wherever it is right here, think airports in a struggle to generate revenue, really it again, And so anything they can do to help increase non nautical revenue thanks it or not. Right above a plane or erle, so improving their concessions and retail. They get a percentage of, although sales and that's when I realized why there are people like Jim Harding who are paid to do this work is not just that airports wants to have a pleasant experience is because there's money on the table think about it, so you're trying to make a connecting flights
you don't have a lot of time. You don't. We know you're going, I'm stressed, and I don't think I'm gonna catch my flight, we'll take time open. My wallet, Peck know what, if I'm cool, call collected am I gave, I know where I'm going more likely to stir up and buy whatever solve that our way fighting has real financial impact to airports bottom line, and so it turns out we find it isn't just about helping you figure out how to get where you want to go. It's about steering masses anywhere that companies hiring the way finders want the masses to be steered and, what's more consumer choices. Aren't gonna make money for the powers that be in sight of a closed system like an airport, don't plan on them. Making it easy for you, David Zweig, the writer who introduce me to Jim Harding. He noticed this kind of thing too.
Their job is in always about creating the best system for us, the traveller, sometimes it's who's paying their bills. When I flew to Florida with my family, we flew into water down, and we foolishly chose an off site car rental company rookies. Yet big mistake, we thought I go. It's like you, take a shallow boss, your beer there in two minutes. While what happens when you arrive there, there is huge signs for all the companies who are there if you're trying to find the offsets car rental companies. Good luck if you try doing that with too little kids into David mentioned this a gym harding, they said Jim. This seems like a way finding failure and he said well. The airport is far more interested in helping out the people who are paying who have on site facilities they have no incentive to have you led the airport go to someone else. They generate no revenue, so their years, almost like second class citizens,
if not to say, though, that there is necessarily a dichotomy between capitalism and good user experience, what do we do? we do for live in his wife honours. I think it is too in our little way to improve Overall, Claudia Eliza, that big customer experience passenger experience as a a project like the international terminal hated Lily. What we were gonna for years and after Alla time is built and you get to walk the word you see like we're all day, you see people using the space understanding this bays, they aren't Strasser free, out about missing a fly is like ok, while all works, we did a good job and just come away. The nice sense of satisfaction. Hold on to training departing in theory we finding should work whether your literate in it are not learn. To see the subtle way, finding queues in about landscape can help. You understand how you,
Your decisions Oregon make you question If you are the one even making your own decisions at all after I parted ways with Jim Harding, I passed a food court and I noticed right outside in the floor, where these big black curvy tiles and actually seem to be steering people towards concessions. So you know next time you find yourself at an airport food court eating cinnabar that you didn't even want check out the signage, the shape of the timing, the height of the ceiling, the quality of the light It may just be that you have an environmental graphic designer to blame, but you know user. Air does imply ninety nine percent invisible, was pretty sweet by same Greenspan with Katy Mingle, Avery Trough in me, roman Mars, we are.
Many one point: seven, local public radio, K, L W in San Francisco and produced the offices of ARC sign our favorite Orkut sure, firm and beautiful, downtown Oakland, California, we often dont think of winter at a time of growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website, because your cooped up your thinking about being productive and now square space can help you do it with squares base. You can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. This, because there is to use templates, are created by world.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.