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UW Wayfinding

Submitted on October 31, 2016 - 12:23pm

The University of Washington campus in Seattle is beautiful, but finding one’s way across it has often proved confusing. Now, thanks to twenty-three guide signs installed at the beginning of autumn quarter 2016, that situation is greatly improved.

Division of Design Associate Professor Kristine Matthews and her Studio Matthews were commissioned by the Office of the University Architect to create a suite of new signage for campus. Her design co-lead has been colleague Professor Karen Cheng, and they began work in on the project in early 2015. Kaito Gengo (BDes 2015) and Scott Ichikawa (MDes 2015) were additional designers on the project. Many stakeholders across campus have been involved throughout the project. Kristine Kenney, Landscape Architect for the University, is the lead on the client side.

In addition to developing the guide signs themselves, a significant part of the process was to redesign the campus map to make it more legible and user-friendly. New icons aid in highlighting locations for food and drink, viewpoints, featured buildings, and more. The guide signs were created to be long-lasting, so an important feature are map panels that can be easily replaced as changes happen on campus. The redesigned map will also be used in other formats by the University.

Update on December 5, 2016:

UW News wrote a short piece about the new wayfinding and included it in today's UW Today. It contains a map showing the current location of guide signs as well as planned future locations.