The Old School, Exton Street
London, England SE1 8UE

A Sign Design Society event:

"Since the web became a normal and ubiquitous presence, the word ‘navigation’ has become almost metaphorical, largely expressive of paths through virtual environments. Here I show examples of guidance for real journeys, graphic products which people make in order to support real acts of navigating and wayfinding. These remind us that in everyday life we generate not only mental events – such as elusive and shifting ‘cognitive maps’ – but also tangible products. So this is about such ordinary graphic objects, including mappings and other forms of drawn and written guidance, which people make when they help other people to find their way from one place to another.

The things which I’ll show are demotic and ephemeral, not gallery pieces or the work of experts. Objects of this kind have rarely been studied, and usually by behavioural scientists who hope that the study of wayfinding and spatial understanding will provide a window onto cognition. Not me: my aims are more modest. I discuss these intriguing products – things which people make by shaping their own spatial knowledge into specifications for other people to follow – as results of a process of everyday information designing. They may offer some insight for professionals (and not just that humans, unlike satnavs, don’t normally guide 40-tonne wagons up bridleways or into village ponds). So far as I know, there has still not been a survey of quite this kind."

Official Website:

Added by nico_macdonald on April 15, 2008