Ask any design firm if its approach to designing graphics for kids is any different than designing for adults, and the answer is a unanimous “no.” As with any environmental graphic design program, the designers have to identify the problem and then design a creative solution that guides, informs, engages, and delights – and stays on budget.
But when it comes to EGD programs for kids, one potential pitfall is watering down the content for the younger demographic. “We try not to patronize children,” says Kate Keating Associates. “We understand that kids are pretty bright.” To appeal to kids and their parents, her firm created a donor wall for the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto, CA, that is whimsical and interactive yet precisely engineered and sophisticated.
Wayfinding for kids should engage visitors but not get in the way of the main draw, says Lonny Israel, principal at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). “you don’t have to do something complex for it to be engaging, but there’s room for both when it’s appropriate.” SOM’s environmental graphics for the Bay Area Discovery Museum blend simple interactive elements (a sign that can be climbed on) with more intricate pieces (a mechanical donor recognition sign).