Sitting in the lobby of my hotel in a new city or town I make my first acquaintances with the map that I received from the reception. The map is user friendly, reduced information, simplified so that the visitor can differentiate between minor and major routes, the major routes will lead him or her to the highlights, the market square perhaps or museums, train stations, buildings and other spaces of public interest. For specialized interests like a good restaurant or a book store one may have to ask the receptionist and if they are from the region or the town they may be able to answer you easy enough, if not than there is always google. Today this is all quite easy, in the past one had to have a better command of understanding maps or a basic grasp of the local language if abroad and of course a lot of time and patience.
In city planning or city marketing, be it for tourists or visiting business representatives, old and young citizens or the disabled, that may need special attention to help stay mobile and independent, intelligent Orientation systems are very important to the success of a modern city and town landscape. They are both of practical and of economic value helping people get around efficiently, they can reduce stress, increase business and can even be attractive elements in street furniture that can express the identity of a region, city or town in the choice of materials, color and text.
Orientation systems can also be developed for office buildings, schools, museums, libraries, hospitals, universities campuses and parks. We have worked for hospitals, museums and towns incorporating the use of light, color, robust materials, text and digital communication in the execution of unique orientation systems for all age groups.
Orientation systems need to work at many scales, they need to be seen and understood for what they are from afar so that visitors accept and use the system. They also need to be easily read and understood at close proximity, often in supporting languages to enable foreigners and locals to use the same system. It is very important for systems in the public domain to be inclusive and provide information for elderly, the blind and at heights suitable for wheelchair users and children.