If you’ve ever been inside Madison Union, you know that this two-part building can get confusing—but you’re in luck! A new wayfinding system is coming to Madison Union over spring break, so you’ll never lose your way again.
This new system consists of two parts—stairwell directions and screen directions. Here’s a little more information about them, courtesy of their creators.
Stairwell Directions | Creator: Allison Shinsky
This senior graphic design major and TAD designer spent some five-odd months working on new stairwell directionals for Madison Union.
Allison was inspired to take on this monumental project by a class on Environmental Design, which she describes as “the creation of an experience for the user by enhancing the functionality of a space through design that’s aesthetically appealing and visually engaging.” She notes that the project was “a long process” due to the sheer size of the installment (and investment), not to mention the fact that she had to keep the administration happy while still having the final product make sense for everyone.
The new stairwell directions consist of two different designs. The first will be placed next to the doors on each floor level and list what is on that particular floor. The second, a midway directional sign, will be on the wall of the landings between floors that faces the stairs, and list what is on the floors above and below. This second design was particularly tricky, as the building’s construction cuts off much of the view of the landings’ facing walls when you are on the stairs. Allison solved this issue by having the text at the bottom, keeping it within view of all levels.
These signs, six total, will be going up over spring break.
Screen Schematic | Creator: Chris Brown
This recent graduate of JMU’s SMAD program and former TAD designer spent his last semester at JMU drafting a wayfinding system for Madison Union’s various monitors.
The initial drafting and illustration only took about three weeks, but code development and implementation were much more difficult. Confirmation with the building managers and administrators is still in process. Mark Cline, the Assistant Director of Madison Union, and Lindsey Cooper, TAD’s Graphic Design Coordinator, were invaluable when it came to organization of the project, helping compile the relevant information and ensuring that the signs were accessible for individuals with disabilities.
The overall design is simple and linear, with subtle contrasts and the classic brand colors of purple and gold. The screens are designed to show the user where they’re standing in the building, as well as allow them to find rooms and services—either visually on the map or through a directory. The best part? JMU’s beloved mascot is your guide.
“The Duke Dog was definitely my favorite part of the project,” says Chris, “Finding ways to hide and show him in different parts of the building was our way to show people where they were standing in the building but also adding a lot of personality to the piece.”
The new interactive wayfinding system will be going up on the 20-inch Acer touchscreen monitors that face every elevator in Madison Union.
Thanks to these talented designers, you’ll never wander the halls of Madison Union in confusion again. Madison Union is a place where all JMU students are welcome and sure to find something that suits them—and now, we’ve made it a whole lot easier for you to find it! These helpful additions are going up over spring break, so be on the lookout for new purple halls, slick vinyl signage, and a cool interactive map when you get back!