Inclusive & Universal Signage: Misconceptions and Findings

Signage in today's built environment is more than just a means for code-compliance and way-finding; it's about creating a positive, accessible, and easy-to-navigate experience for people of all ages, cultures, and abilities. Through conversations and project work, brandx believes that what you say with signage matters. Universal symbols that are easily learned and remembered help us figure out where we are and give us options for moving through our world safely and efficiently. But many best practices weren't developed with the flexibility to evolve as people and language do, and often only consider the codified extremes, like complete blindness--as to those 65% of us who don't have perfect vision.* As a result, the standard for signage today must not only be to clearly communicate practical information about a place and how to move around within it, but doing so in a way that navigates cultural conversations around identity and ability with respect. This session brings renewed discussion to the gap between the increasing importance and long-term impacts of signage, outdated codes, and the industry's lack of dedicated degree programs to study and explore new best practices around inclusive signage. Leveraging a combined industry experience of over 30 years, panelists will share field findings and key considerations for approaching signage, wayfinding, and brand experience in making spaces more adaptable and inclusive. What are the most universally recognized symbols? What are the most intuitive ways to number rooms? What naming conventions are most inclusive? What backgrounds work best for video-conferencing? The presentation will challenge attendees to investigate today's potential misconceptions around inclusivity and universality, understand where biases may be hiding, and highlight the need for continuing education on these topics--particularly with regards to the ever-changing nature of identity as it relates to restroom icons, room naming, and legibility.

Chanel Dehond, SEGD

Senior Associate, Global Director

HLW International | brandx

Chanel is the Toronto-born, New York and London-based Global Director of brandx, HLW’s signage, wayfinding, and brand experience studio. She compares design details to the impact of drawing those two simple lines that make eyebrows on a face – one small gesture can make a large impact. With 15 years of industry experience, Chanel's docket includes her current award winning experiential graphic design work with HLW’s brandx studio, editorial and illustration-based contributions to ArchDaily, and Metropolis Magazine, large-scale murals and artwork in her Chanel Dehond-branded, black-and-white linework-style, and her professorship with Parsons School of Design in the departments of interior design and brand identity. Chanel maintains that what you say with signage matters, there is as much importance in the way that we navigate cultural conversations as the way that we navigate our built environments.

Chanel is always looking for ways to use 2D illustration, graphic design, and text-based content to change the way we engage with 3-dimensional space, attempting to make the sometimes exclusive world of architecture and design more fun and approachable. Environmental graphics, wayfinding, and conversation starters are her medium, recognizing that branded graphics are a super high-impact, low-cost way to tell people who you are and what you do.

Her recent client list includes: Amazon, Aspen, Bain & Company, Discovery, Inc., Fordham University, Google, Meta, Morgan Stanley, Point72, Prudential Insurance, Schrödinger, and Subway. She’s always looking for ways to meet new people, as Chanel will say, "Meeting new people is my peanut butter, and collaborating is my jam."

Carolina Madrigal

Senior Associate, Creative Director

HLW International | brandx

Carolina is a Mexican-born, New York-based Creative Director for brandx, HLW’s signage, wayfinding, and brand experience studio. With 10 years of industry experience, Carolina has a record of multiple award-winning experiential graphic design projects with HLW’s brandx studio, and photography publications from her airplane series with names like Los Immigrants. She has dedicated herself to HANDS, a nonprofit organization where she teaches literacy to immigrants. Carolina looks to impact the space through design and positively impact the users, as it is equally important to have a visual and approachable experience.

Her recent client list includes: Aspen, Bain & Company, Eisai, Fordham University, Google, Morgan Stanley, Schrödinger, and Subway. She is always open to making new creative connections.

This content will not be available until 06/10/2024 at 8:00 AM (EDT)