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December 17 - 19
National Institute of Design
Jay Rutherford

Bauhaus University Weimar
Weimar, Germany

Jay Rutherford was born in Canada precisely in the middle of the 20th century. His ancestors - sign painters and opticians, taught him about communicating and seeing, and he's been busy with those activities ever since. After studying graphics at the end of the sixties and working in the graphic arts industry he decided to go back to school in his mid-30s to study Visual Communication. Doing freelancing in ad agencies, running his own design studio, and teaching design for a few years, he finally got a call from Old Europe to move on to the home of Gutenberg and the Bauhaus.

Wayfinding in Large Indian Cities
Developing Signage Systems to Help with Orientation in Urban Contexts

Visitors to, and even residents of many large Indian cities often have difficulty with wayfinding. This situation has a number of causes, including a lack of clearly-readable and consistently-placed street markings, as well as a lack of house and building numbering. Our incentive in this project is to assist visitors and residents to find destinations more efficiently.

Our approach to date has been an analysis of two cities, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, with the intent to identify the status quo and to conceive of possible improvements. Our team is made up by an urban design professor and a graphic designer from the Bauhaus University, along with teachers from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Student projects have been assigned and supervised to these ends.

The project is ongoing, with no immediate end in sight. There are sociological, political, economic, and cultural matters to be addressed. Language issues also come to the fore considering India's multitude of official languages and alphabetic systems. If indeed signage systems are the final result, materials and construction methods will be as important as typefaces, colours and positioning.

A number of experts must be brought in to this project in the areas of mapping, product design, type design, and sociocultural aspects of public communication. While India's literacy rate is improving, there is still a long way to go. Typographic signage is only useful to those who can read. A national signage system for India could go a long way toward smoothing cultural and commercial interactions among disparate communities.

Kognito hospital signage.

National Institute of Design.

Ralf Herrmann's book recommendations.

Yanone's FF Amman typeface.

Bernhard Pompeÿ's Israel images.

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