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Wayfinding: A Graphic Design Superpower

I’m convinced that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who are navigationally gifted, and those who aren’t. Alas, I land squarely in the latter group. Which means that I’m just lucky to find my way out of a parking lot.

Fortunately for me and others like me, graphic designers possess a superpower that can save people from getting lost in a confusing world. Their power lies not just in the ability to make a space easier to navigate, but to make it more engaging as well.

It’s a superpower called wayfinding, and you can see it at work here:

At the newly renovated Shadle Park Library, wayfinding shows up in everything from the outdoor signs and vinyl studio letters to the checkout kiosks and bookshelf labels. Each design solution helps library visitors seamlessly navigate the space and find exactly what they’re looking for.

But wayfinding offers more than just utility. It delivers impact too. Did you notice the graphic pattern in the privacy vinyl on the library’s glass walls? This one-of-a-kind pattern was inspired by a street map of the post-war Shadle Park neighborhood. It subtly adds interest and promotes a sense of space that’s unique to this Spokane community.

Wayfinding may not seem obvious at first, but once you start looking for it, you’ll discover it in the spaces you navigate every day.

And – whether you’re navigationally challenged or not – you’ll have a graphic designer to thank for that help.



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