Wayfinding


Hand drawn map of Target

Wayfinding for Ants


Wayfinding is about more than wetting a finger and holding it up to the air. It arises from the structure, and it arises whether it is planned or not. In fact, often wayfinding takes place with methods contrary to the designers intent. A complex web of highways, four-lane roads, and culdesacs are one manifestation. The a-z alphabetical layout of Washington D.C. is another. But it exists in smaller more interesting ways all over.

Kids Shortcut
Bike path finds a way around the pavers
Fence owner gives up

Cities spend big money on their wayfinding projects. Urban development projects use signs as a means of advocation. "Bike more, visit our tourist center, did you know a theater was just down the road? Skatepark/Basketball
>" Business vie for domination of a cities wayfinding with towering billboards and obelisk-like skyscrapers. Each trying to dominate the canopy of the urban forest. The days of circumnavigation with north star and astrolabe a distant past.
Often taken for granted wayfinding such as:

In cities, you can way find by observing different people and piecing together a cultural puzzle. Hone in on the values, or aesthetic you're after and watch what stops people of similar disposition take on buses. Wind up in a new coffee house, pub or museum. A psychotopology.

Back to Target--

Target is very interested in wayfinding, their letters to stockholders detail a marketing plan focused on re-aligning endcaps. Prominent displays at wayfinding focal points will bring in more dollars. Before endcaps corporations must first zoom out. They look at highway traffic count, pedestrian traffic, the population of the city, and determine feasibility before stamping a copy Target on the town. There has to already exist in opportunity for interest in Target for a Target to be made. You won't find very many Targets in old buildings, as the layout is more important than any other factor. Any cost saved in the build-out or remodel will be lost with the nonconformities in design. And maybe worse-- the inability to measure the effects of a new variable in the corporate formula.

For the consumer, this means a predestined likeness between all Targets. A predictable layout, and similar product placement throughout the store. You can enter a Target and not feel lost, even if you have never been there before. The electronics are in the back and to the left, in Bemidji and Minneapolis. If you're in a hurry, it's important. This method has proven profitable. It does, however, remove any art or beauty from the land, architecture and surrounding environment. A pimple on earth.

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