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  • Writer's pictureAlice Devine

When is a Wall Not Just a Wall? Um, when it's an environmental graphic.

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Environmental graphics -- part art, part way-finding, part company culture -- all communication.

photos courtesy of Barker Blue and the author #realestatetrends

Environmental graphics, the term used for (generally) large, scenic graphics, extends corporate communication beyond traditional core signage and wayfinding. While those functions -- identity and directions -- remain critical to business practicalities, these graphics do so much more.

According to the Society of Environmental Graphics, such installations shape "experiences that connect people to place." A food company, for example, might connect its purpose to its product by displaying vibrant photographs of blue, green and red fruit. In another instance, a graphic can remind viewers of a company's mission statement. And, others bring the fun inside and outside by adopting walls -- as many cities do -- that inspire selfies. These companies display whimsical or inspiring images which can engage employees...mostly through social media via an instagrammable moment. A picture truly is worth a thousand words as graphics express a company's culture, purpose, workplace vibe, or all of the above.

These graphics, typically applied to interior walls, are akin to wallpaper. Installed with a paste or adhesive (usually by a professional), they can be cleaned with a damp sponge. Depending on the surface and installation method, removal and replacement are relatively easy. And of course, image quality remains key, so purchasers choose from professional photographic stock or work with a designer. Large companies often engage their architects to clarify or create a image consistent with the company.

So next time you walk into a building lobby, a museum, a company's reception area, an airport, or down a corridor . . . notice the graphic that's informing and creating your experience. You may even want to shoot a selfie.



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