THERE IS A PLACE: YOU’RE IN THE PLACE.
HOW DO YOU DESIGN A PATHWAY FOR FINDING?
What is the way, found?
We were thinking about this. In the context of the work that you do. And what we do.
We’ve wondered about that, the character of being lost, being found. Finding your way. And there’s a part of the work that we do that is just about that—helping people figure out their way.
Helping them not to be lost. But to be found. Finding.
But wayfinding, the very heart of environmental graphics, is about creating interactions with humans between the literal spirit of the alphabet—the knowledge of the characters within, what they mean and—with the ever-present directional arrowing—where they lead you.
You follow the map—look for “points.”
You get there.
It’s the cartography of the way, the alphabet as a kind of magical explanation—if not mystical—set of markings, that guide.
That’s one level. We believe that there is inherently more. That the alphabet is a mysteriously powerful thing, and that creating interactions between content, literally context, in placement. But, it’s more—there’s history there.
For thousands of years, there has been a legacy of the alphabet as a set of markings that actually have layers of meaning beneath the commonly accessible.
That the meaning of the alphabet lies in the sounds and what those semantics contextually represent—but there is power beneath. Incantation. Amulets. Talismans. Prayers in invocation—the evoking, the calling of meaning and spirit.
But, those times, those meanings, are forgotten by most.
I’m wondering about that environmental graphical interface between the alphabet and the person. And how that relates to architecture and experience. I believe that it’s a kind of patterning of thought. That can range to greater meaning.
Like this, the imagery below: people are interacting with a word. A concept. A vision. A sense of beauty and discovery. And something to the spirit of profound fulfillment. That is more the space that I believe in, the context to the work that we do with the alphabet—even the notion of the brand—how is it seen.
We live there.
Scene. Touched. Textured. Known and explored. And further, signed. Signatures on meaning, [https://www.girvin.com/blog/brand-signature/] signature on the alphabet, signature on the word:
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
(the descriptive quote: People signed the back of a sculpture, reading “Newborn” in English, at its unveiling on Sunday in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. NYTimes)
I believe, in a way, that environmental graphics is about storytelling.
Sure, it’s using the alphabet—but there are layers of meaning.
There’s the story on the front facing—the opening mapmaking—the finding of the way, but there’s the story that lies beneath—textured, soulful, powerful.
The sign is a sign.
It’s more than merely the way—and the finding of it.
Tim Girvin + GIRVIN | Reno on the Truckee, UTAH
GIRVIN on Signage, Environmental Graphic Design and Wayfinding