Innovation by design

Two of the most fascinating talks we attended at this year’s Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) conference were given by Mike Rawlinson and Donald Meeker (we promise this is our last post for the year on the conference!). While the work they showcased was exceptional, what really interested us was the fact that in both cases the designers themselves drove these outcomes, rather than their clients.

Meeker Clearview-pt04

Meeker Rawlinson-pt02a

Donald Meeker of Meerker and Associates, who was made a Fellow of SEGD at the conference, shared the story behind his development of the Clearview typeface. Commissioned with the seemingly simple request to document the signage for a new freeway intersection, Donald was struck by the chaotic number, size, styles and illegibility of the numerous signs he was being asked to implement. A direct result of this he began a decades long crusade to improve the wayfinding of the United States’ highway wayfinding signage. One result of this ongoing work was the official acceptance in 2004 of the Clearview typeface, which measurably improves the legibility of messages. It replaces all caps typefaces that were first selected in the 1940’s with title case messages that (for the typophiles amongst you) features larger counter spaces and higher x height.

CityId South Hampton Legible City Map copyCityId Bath Public Realm Movement Strategy Masterplan

Mike Rawlinson of City ID is now justifiably famous in the Experiential Graphic community for his work on the ‘Legible Cities’ concept, embraced by such clients as Abu Dhabi, Birmingham, London, Moscow, New York and Rio de Janeiro. Beginning with the Birmingham project, Mike developed a philosophy of connecting large urban spaces through the integration of urban design, wayfinding, identity and integrated transportation projects. He has relentlessly pursued these aims, taking each successive client one step further along the road to truly connected cities. His latest ventures include recognising the importance of consistency in online and digital wayfinding information, and building an open source platform to connect information providers.

He’s also a hell of a guy who kindly forgave Nick Bannikoff for spilling a drink on him late one night in the Green Mill.

Once again, if you’re a SEGD member you can see their talks on the SEGD website.