From Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) to Experiential Graphic Design (XGD)
Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) embraces many design disciplines including graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design, all concerned with the visual aspects of wayfinding, communicating identity and information, and shaping the idea of creating experiences that connect people to place.
In a historic context providing signs in the environment is as old as art itself with cave men telling stories through paintings on the walls of their caves. However in the modern context the profession is only about 40 years old when a group of designers recognized that what they did was a lot more than make signs and got together to form SEGD to develop their activities into a profession.
In 2013 the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the SEGD association from Society for Environmental Graphic Design to more accurately reflect the expanding nature of communication in the built environment to Society for Experiential Graphic Design (XGD). Experiential more accurately describes the work that our members have been doing already for the past 15-20 years which involves more than just the core signage and wayfinding disciplines. It encompasses the broader notion of all communication in the build environment which included content, moving digital text and images, display content such as museum exhibits, branded content such as football stadiums and corporate headquarters. Secondly, when the term Environmental Graphic Design was coined by the association founders in the early 70's, Environmental did not have the strong association with the environmental movement that it has today.
Wayfinding forms the core of what experiential graphic design can do to improve peoples experience of place. Ask any hospital administrator how visitors perceive the experience of their facility and they will most likely tell you that if the visitor cannot find their way around, nothing else matters. Wayfinding forms the very core of a visitors experience of a place.
There are a number of practice areas that fall under the umbrella term of Experiential Graphic Design or Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) such as wayfinding, placemaking, exhibition design, public spaces, research and master planning.
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