What Is Environmental Graphic Design and Why Should You Care?

People want to identify with the community in which they live, work or play in; they want to feel comfortable with their surroundings and a part of the environment. As a result, there is tremendous value in enhancing brand identification and emphasizing your property’s sense of place in context with the natural and existing environment.

Establishing and reinforcing this image and sense of place is part of what makes signage such a powerful tool.

When you look at the environment around you, is it flat and two-dimensional? Of course not; your surroundings have depth. And so should your property’s signage.

The practice of three-dimensional design is known as environmental graphic design. The word “environmental” is not a reference to eco-friendly or “green” design. Environmental graphic design refers to the depth of the real world versus the two-dimensional realm of conventional graphic design. This specialty includes identification, directional, regulatory, and informational graphics, which play an integral part in providing visitors with a powerful first impression and residents with a constant and harmonious reminder of sense of place.

Environmental design together with cohesive, aesthetically pleasing signage programs enhance and emulate the existing built and natural environment, incorporating defining elements that are part of the community’s character. For example, environmental graphic design can reflect a rustic atmosphere or an upscale, urban feel depending on the location of your property and the image you want to project.

To accomplish this, the signage must identify the true needs of the client, reflect the design intent and feeling of the community, provide the most effective site programming, use the best-suited materials for the environment, and produce the sign message in an attractive manner, all within budget.

Environmental graphic design can create signage that is memorable for its presence, for its effectiveness, and for its artistry. It achieves this by working with and enhancing its environment, being effective in its message and method, and speaking to the user when viewed and needed.

And though it may seem like a less obvious result, it has the ability to make those who see it daily gain comfort in the positive feeling of a sense of place.


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