Experiential Graphic Design involves the orchestration of typography, color, imagery, form, technology and, especially, content to create environments that communicate.
Examples of this work include way-finding systems, architectural graphics, signage and sign programs, exhibit design, retail design, and themed or branded spaces. Increasingly, XGD involves the use of digital technologies and systems that present dynamic content through motion graphics and make possible rich interactions between a user in a place and the information being provided.
Operating at the intersection of communications and the built environment, the field embraces a wide range of disciplines including graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, digital and industrial design.
The history of the field, also called “environmental graphic design,” is rooted in the earliest forms of graphic communications such as cave paintings and examples of “environments that communicate” can be seen in the use of hieroglyphics in ancient temples, the stained glass of cathedrals, and in today’s hyper-communicative places such as the Ginza district of Tokyo and New York City’s Times Square.
The practitioners of this discipline in recent years have set the standards for way-finding in transportation centers (airports, railway and subway stations), hospitals, museums and on city streets and highways. Learning and immersive environments such as museum exhibitions and public, civic and landscape place-making programs have benefited from the multi-disciplinary talents of designers to shape experiences that orient, inform, educate and delight users and visitors.
Retail stores, entertainment and hospitality destinations–theme parks, hotels, casinos, sports venues, shopping malls– and other “branded environments” are using the tools and story-telling approaches of XGD to create more engaging and meaningful interactions with their customers.