Are you looking to create environmental graphics to enhance your office space, university, gym, retail space, museum or restaurant? Environmental graphics, also known as supergraphics, can convey the tone and professionalism of your company in a powerful way.
With SpeedPro, you’ll be gaining a partner that aims to meet and surpass your every expectation. As the nation’s biggest large-format graphics provider, we offer the technology, resources and expertise to create high-quality supergraphics that make a lasting impression.
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What Are Environmental Graphics?
Rather than a specific type of signage, environment graphics are defined by their purpose. What differentiates environmental graphic design from other types of signage is that it aims to change the space in a fundamental way. Environmental graphics should transform an area to create a particular feeling, convey important information or alter the way people use the space. In many cases, these are adhesive graphics that can be applied to doors, windows, floors, walls or ceilings to enhance your environment.
The term “environmental graphics” is closely related to the term “supergraphics.” Supergraphics could be considered a type of environmental graphic. They’re characterized by their size and the fact that they change the feeling of a space. Supergraphics are typically large and take up a significant portion of a room or even a whole building, and they’re often eye-catching and may involve bright colors, bold shapes and meaningful text or imagery. Today, they may also incorporate digital and multi-media aspects.
What Is Environmental Graphic Design?
Environmental graphics use the principles of environmental graphic design (EGD), also called experiential graphic design (XGD). They’re just one tool that environmental graphic designers can use to transform a space.
What is EGD? It’s a field of graphic design that combines various design disciplines to connect people to a place, bring meaning to it and impact the way visitors experience it. It uses elements of graphic, interior, architectural, industrial, landscape and other types of design. It may aim to assist with wayfinding, communicating information or establishing a brand identity.
You can find evidence of environmental graphic design in a vast range of locations and situations. In fact, the concept of environmental design has been around since people first started using painting on cave walls to tell stories. In its modern iteration, however, the field is relatively young.
The Society for Experiential Graphic Design was only established in 1973. At the time of its founding, it was called the Society for Environmental Graphic Design. The Board of SEGD decided to change the organization’s name in 2013 because the field was expanding into new areas, and they wanted to avoid confusion related to the term “environmental” and the environmental movement.
There are several main practice areas within EGD, as described by SEGD. These areas include:
- Wayfinding: Wayfinding deals with the signage and other materials that help people navigate around an environment. It can consist of directional signage, maps and symbols that mark the purpose of a location. For example, wayfinding signs may include arrows pointing to an exit, a directory telling you where to find various departments or placards on doors to label offices. Wayfinding graphics can make people feel more comfortable and informed in a space.
- Placemaking and identity: Environmental graphic design can help to differentiate a place and create a sense of “you are here.” For example, graphics could express the unique culture of a city by incorporating images of famous people from the town’s history or cultural events the city is known for. EGD can also help create the desired atmosphere in a room or building. A hospital typically aims for a clean and professional feel, for example.
- Exhibition design: EGD also encompasses exhibitions such as those in museums as well as temporary exhibits. The designers who work on these exhibitions aim to make the information they convey easy to access and understand. To accomplish this goal, they may include the use of graphics and multi-media tools.
- Public space design: Public spaces and installations typically incorporate elements of environmental graphic design, as well. EGD helps to add meaning and context to these spaces through visuals that match the mood or purpose they should convey. The design of a memorial, for example, would likely create a somber feeling. A playground, on the other hand, would use bright, lively colors.
- Branded and themed environments: With environmental graphics, you can make a place fully reflect the company, team, student body or activities that inhabit the space. This type of environmental design can generate excitement and inspiration in people as they enter the space. For example, a basketball arena should be decked out in graphics that celebrate the home team. Likewise, a business or a university campus should contain visual reminders of their unique brand all over.
Environmental graphics and designs can be used in all of these areas to help create the overall feeling of a space. They may relate to multiple aspects of experiential graphic design. For example, a wall decal might include arrows to provide directions but also use bright colors, playful fonts and the company logo to help convey a company culture or brand identity.
The Connection Between People and Their Environment
A wealth of research has demonstrated what people already know from firsthand experience: our environments impact our thoughts and feelings. The negative side to this is that some environments can be stressful or seem to suck the energy right out of us. Or, they may be confusing to navigate. On the positive side, a well-designed environment — complete with vibrant and informative graphics — can invoke feelings of energy, focus, inspiration, peace or joy.
Different colors even tend to have certain effects on people. For example, yellow is an energizing color that can promote a positive attitude, whereas blue can have a more calming effect. This is why designers must choose wall colors and other design features carefully. For instance, when you walk into a fitness center, you want to feel motivated by energizing colors and maybe some inspirational quotes to get you going. When you enter a spa, you want to feel relaxed and at peace.
Graphics can go beyond just setting the mood. They can help people associate a space with a certain culture, mission, activity or identity. When you enter your workplace, you want to remember what your company is all about so you feel motivated to work hard and embrace the company culture. When people walk into your store, you want them to feel immersed in your brand and tune into their shopping mode.
The bottom line is that a physical environment inevitably has an effect on people, whether you want it to or not. So why not be intentional about the environment you create? You can do just that with environmental graphics as a part of your overall design strategy.
Types of Environmental Graphics
Environmental graphics come in several different forms that you can apply to various parts of a room. Here are just a few ideas:
- Wall murals: The walls of your building are blank canvases. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste. When you take advantage of our environmental graphic wall murals, you can bring your facility to the next level. A full-color, high-resolution wall-to-wall mural says a lot about your business without being salesy and will leave an impression on your guests. We can print any design with exact color-matching precision on a variety of materials. We’ll even complete on-site surveying to make sure there will be a good fit before installation.
- Floor graphics: The floor is another excellent place for supergraphics. You can put a large company logo on the floor of your lobby, place an advertisement on the ground outside or put down arrows or footprints to help people navigate throughout a building. Large graphics look especially impressive from above. We can print floor graphics for both indoor and outdoor use that will adhere to a range of materials. Our specialty non-slip laminates meet national standards ratings.
- Window graphics: Glass surfaces are essential for branding. Window graphics can enhance any glass surface, whether it’s the window facing the outside of a business or an interior glass wall. These graphics can serve as eye-catching visuals — like storefront window displays — and can add privacy as well. With our impressive selection of perforated films, vinyl graphics and clings, we should be entirely capable of fulfilling your every request.
- Elevator wraps: Elevator wraps can cover the exterior doors and the interior of an elevator, transforming it visually. You can use elevator wraps to brand your space or turn what would normally be an ordinary, plain surface into a work of art. Some elevator wraps are even designed so that the opening and closing of doors add to the graphic’s effect.
- Contour-cut signage: Some signs are printed on flat surfaces or cut into simple shapes, but you certainly aren’t limited to that. With contour-cut signage, for example, you can create custom 3D signs that make your message pop. Some companies turn their logo into a contour-cut sign and install it on the face of their building or use it as an eye-catching centerpiece inside. You can even add lighting to these signs to enhance the effect.
- Digital signage: Digital signs may simply be a monitor screen used to share timely messages, but with some graphic design, you can make these signs an attractive part of the landscape. You can even use a projector or oversized television screen to create a digital sign that has a powerful impact on the atmosphere. You could use this screen to remind employees of your company’s mission and values, for instance, or use it in a store to play a runway show spotlighting your products.
- Smart signage: Smart signage is interactive. It can feature a QR code or a near field communication (NFC) chip that allows people to connect to the landing page of your choice. You can print large smart signs and use them to make your physical space feel more connected to the digital world, bridging the gap between your print and online marketing efforts.
Uses for Environmental Graphics
The graphics and services we offer can be used to accomplish a plethora of goals. Whether you want to add to the ambiance of your restaurant with tasteful wall art, display your school’s pride through a mural or accomplish any other goal with your environment, we can help you accomplish it. To understand what you want and need, we’ll discuss your ideas in an in-depth consultation where we’ll show you options from our product catalog.
Some of the most popular uses for environmental graphics include:
1. Branding a Space
Environmental graphics are perfect for making a space convey a brand’s identity or a company’s culture. They can meet this need directly by using a company’s logo, slogan or colors. They can also match the brand’s personality for a more subtle statement. For example, a company that brands itself as fun might use bright colors and put humorous quotes on the wall. A brand with a more serious personality might use muted tones and sophisticated fonts and images.
2. Providing Directions or Information
Environmental graphics can also help people learn about their surroundings. A wall covering might include arrows or the number of the floor you’re on. A floor graphic might use arrows to create a path for visitors to follow. An elevator wrap could include a list of the building’s floors along with symbols to indicate what exhibit, department or ward is on each floor. Supergraphics are also a creative way to convey information that may otherwise seem dull, such as the rules for using a facility.
3. Inspiring and Motivating Employees
You might also use environmental graphics to help inspire a particular state of mind and improve performance. For instance, you could put inspirational quotes on the wall. In a school, those quotes could be from previous students or teachers. In an office meeting room used for brainstorming, you could place quotes related to creativity. You can also inspire people by celebrating past successes through graphics.
4. Promoting Well-Being
The interior design of a place can even affect a person’s overall well-being, so why not use it to have a positive effect? A University of Texas study showed that gray, beige and white office walls led to feelings of sadness among employees, especially in women. Adding more color to your facility can make it feel more inviting and less draining. Adding artwork can also improve people’s well-being. Research has shown that art in the workplace improves mood, lowering levels of stress and frustration.
5. Educating People
You can also use environmental graphics to make a space more educational for everyone who passes through. This could mean educating employees, business partners and customers about your company history or the charity work you engage in. Or, it could mean adding murals or floor graphics to share more facts related to a museum exhibit. In a sporting goods store, you could share facts about the benefits of being active outdoors, along with some stunning visuals of the mountains or a soccer field.
6. Preparing a Space for an Event
Environmental graphics can also temporarily transform a space for a special event being held there. Supergraphics can take a conference center, stadium or office building and infuse it with the personality of the event occurring there. With well-designed, unique environmental graphics, an attendee will walk into the building and know for certain they’re in the right place. You can make sure by displaying the logo of the organization hosting the event, showing pictures related to the event or creating displays that match the event’s personality.
The Benefits of Using Environmental Graphics
Environmental graphics offer numerous benefits that make them an excellent choice for transforming a room or building, including the following.
1. They Are Convenient and Cost-Effective
With environmental graphics, you can quickly and affordably change a space to suit your needs within a short time frame and a tight budget. Through the principles of environmental graphic design, graphics can completely transform a space. Of course, adding graphics is much faster and more affordable than renovations to your building. You can even change an area multiple times to accommodate various events that take place there.
2. They’re Versatile
When it comes to environmental graphic design, you can choose from a large variety of materials and design types. We have a wide range of capabilities that allow us to print graphics tailored to fit any space, and we can customize our products to meet the needs of your project. The versatility of environmental graphics also enables you to be creative in your designs to convey your brand personality or share your message in a unique way.
3. They’re Impactful and Memorable
Environmental graphics are often large and can include bright, bold imagery. Additionally, they can transform an entire room or building, making them hard to miss. These attributes make an impression on visitors that lasts long after they leave the room. This lasting impression is key for branding because it helps create a strong brand identity and makes it more likely that people will maintain interest in your company or organization.
4. They Help You Optimize Your Space
Environmental graphics can help you get the most out of your space by allowing you to improve it to suit your needs. Real estate is a significant investment, so you should optimize it for how you plan to use it. Environmental graphics are an effective and affordable way to do that. If your space isn’t currently working for you, try to envision the floors, walls and ceilings as blank canvases and imagine how you can transform them.
Tips for Environmental Graphic Design
When you’re planning environmental graphics, try to think about things from an environmental graphic design point of view. When you consult with SpeedPro design experts, we’ll talk about your goals and the best way to achieve them through the use of graphics.
Keep the following tips in mind during the design process:
- Understand the communication objectives: The first step is to make sure you understand the communication objectives of the project. The message you’re trying to convey will help guide you through every other step in the process. When we’re working with our clients, we make sure we understand their goals so we can help them succeed.
- Understand the space: Environmental graphics need to work with the space they’re in so they appear as an integral component rather than just an afterthought. We seek to understand the area we’re working with and tailor our graphics to it.
- Consider all design elements: You’ll have various design tools at your disposal when you’re creating environmental graphics, and you can use them to get your message across. These tools include materials, colors, images, text, fonts and placement. Make sure each element contributes to meeting your communication goals.
- Consider the audience: Your audience is another critical factor that you need to keep in mind. Think about who will see the graphics and any unique perspectives they may have. You can tailor your graphics to these perspectives. For example, if your audience is filled with sports enthusiasts, you may use quotes from famous athletes in your designs.
- Consider practical aspects: If your graphics are going to convey information or help people navigate a building, make sure the information is legible, easy to see and easy to understand.
Get Started With Environmental Graphics
Want to optimize your space and make it memorable, practical and purposeful? Environmental graphics from SpeedPro are the perfect solution. We’ll work with you to help determine the ideal products for you, and we have the expertise and equipment to deliver high-quality results, even for challenging projects.
Let us help you take your space to the next level. Contact your local studio today to schedule your consultation.