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The Sustainable Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Graphic Design by: Dr. Wu Duan

Dr. Wu Duan – an associate professor of environmental design at Tongji University–College of Design & Innovation in Shanghai, China. She is a leader and cofounder of Public Design LAB in Tongji and the leader of environmental graphic design studio in Tongji Tiandi Institute of Art & Design Innovation. Duan Wu has a PhD in Architecture from the College of Urban Planning and Architecture, Tongji University; Master of Visual Communication Design and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from College of Art & Design, Tongji University. In her ten-year career she has worked on a broad range of projects including public design, wayfinding and environmental graphics, branding, exhibition design, landscape and urban design.

This paper analyzes the opportunities and challenges of sustainable environmental graphic design through two projects in Shanghai, China. The first is a wayfinding program for the Shanghai South Railway Station, a study using environmental graphic design (EGD) to support and enhance sustainable behavior–in this case to promote the use of public transportation instead of private. After the station opened in 2007, average daily passenger traffic reached around 300,000 people; shortly after, station users began to complain about the legibility of signage and the clarity of the wayfinding system. Volunteers assigned throughout the station to help people navigate the complex received 100 to 200 inquiries a day. Research and design for a new signage system began in 2008 and was implemented In 2010. The case study and research conducted concludes that properly researched and designed wayfinding systems can encourage more sustainable behaviors among users and deliver significant environmental and economic benefits not only for transportation buildings but all public spaces. The second is a signage and EGD program for facilities at Tongji University, demonstrating the ability of EGD to encourage sustainable behaviors. In a city like Shanghai, in order to meet universal needs, there tends to be less Chinese characters, more symbols, and more english. The redesign of the signage system in Tongji University integrates modern Chinese characters and words; characters combined with symbols can overcome literacy, language, and cultural barriers to help local and international students make sense of the space and culture around them.

Duan, Wu, et.al. “The Sustainable Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Graphic Design.” SEGD, 2 Oct. 2014, segd.org/sustainable-challenges-and-opportunities-environmental-graphic-design.

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