MSD Research

David Rose

Research Proposal:
An Investigation of the Architectural Design Process and the Implementation of Integrated Wayfinding Tools


Nils Ericson Terminal III, Niels Torp

Introduction & Significance

Way finding is a tool architects, planners, and designers use for user interaction and navigation within a building or large-scale complex.

An environment that does not support effective human understanding and action insures eventual frustration and disappointment (Kaplan, 1973, 278).

People desire sufficient environmental coherence to make sense of the environment (Kaplan, 1973, 278).

Coherence is maintained by variable but identifiable physical forms, continuous texture gradients, and thematic graphic or color markings (Evans, et. al, 1980, 475).


Seattle Public Library, Bruce Mau Design

Identified Problems

Architects don’t utilize wayfinding principles early in the design process for new building construction

Signage tends to be applied versus integrated into the architecture

Building design cannot always be intuitive -- even minimal signage is necessary

Research Focus

wayfinding integration for new building construction


Crafts Council Collect, OPX

Research Questions & Conceptual Framework

How can wayfinding principles be utilized early in the architectural design process?

What methods of communication work for architects to educate them of developing wayfinding and EGD tools for potential environmental integration?


Barbican Arts Centre, Cartlidge Levene


1. interview

professionals in architectural, interior, and environmental graphic disciplines

2. case study analysis

of way finding systems (varying sizes, complexity, techniques, procedures, etc)

3. survey

users on effectiveness of way finding systems

4. create framework tool

that analyzes overall effectiveness of system


Manual Example

Applied Project: Integrated Wayfinding Manual

My thesis applied project is focused on developing a wayfinding framework tool that educates architects on the practices, tools, and opportunities of wayfinding and EGD.


1. design process schedule

2. visual diagrams of integrated wayfinding methods

3. connection of architecture to wayfinding to graphic identity

4. offer plan of action to achieve ideal environmental integration.