Environmental Graphics Defined by Connecting People and Spaces Environmental graphic design (EGD) stands as a fascinating intersection where various domains, from graphic design and architecture to lighting and landscape, converge to elevate our interactions within the built environment. But what exactly is EGD? Let’s dive in to comprehend this multidisciplinary realm and recognize its subtle, yet pivotal, influence on our daily experiences. Defining Environmental Graphic Design At its core, environmental graphic design is a quest to enhance the user experience by visually translating ideas within our physical spaces. These visual enhancements manifest in diverse forms, from signage and identity to super graphics, art installations, and even the strategic use of color. Such a broad spectrum of applications and techniques makes EGD both captivating and elusive to define concisely. The essence of environmental graphics can be encapsulated in a single phrase: it offers a layered experience where identity, imagery, and sense of place are amplified through emotional triggers and touchpoints within a spatial experience. The Evolution of Environmental Graphic Design Initially termed “architectural signage,” the primary focus of EGD was rudimentary, mainly encompassing building identification and wayfinding—common elements like room identities, traffic direction signs, and logo applications. However, as the discipline matured, it began to weave more seamlessly with architecture. What we saw was a transformation from mere identification graphics to more immersive design elements that either complemented the architectural essence or became the focal point of visitor experiences. In the 1970s and 1980s, a shift in perception was palpable. The field underwent a rebranding, adopting the term “environmental graphic design.” This change marked its growing acceptance within the architectural design industry. Interestingly, back then, “environmental” was understood as pertaining to “one’s immediate surroundings.” Yet, as environmental concerns gained prominence, the term began resonating more with conservation and climate issues. This linguistic evolution led to some confusion. By 2018, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) felt a redefinition was in order. To address misconceptions and better articulate the discipline’s growth, “environmental” was replaced with “experiential.” The Role of Cognitive Bias and Tone of Voice in EGD At this juncture, it’s worth noting the psychology that underpins EGD. A key aspect is understanding cognitive biases in marketing. When people interact with environmental graphics, their perception is inevitably influenced by pre-existing biases. Recognizing and leveraging these biases can enhance the effectiveness of the design. Moreover, the tone of voice plays a critical role. Just as branding requires a consistent and relevant tone in communications, EGD must reflect a tone that aligns with the intended message and the audience’s expectations. This ensures that the spatial experience resonates emotionally and intellectually with visitors. Environmental graphics and environmental graphic design being properly defined will help your organization discern what connects people to spaces.