Oct 8, 201301:00 PMPoint of View


Signgeist 2: A 30-Year Itch

(page 4 of 4)

By the end of the decade, the term “branding” dominated the design lexicon. Amtrak ushered in the first high-speed rail service, and we unified its 16 Acela stations with a system of branded sign elements that snagged the Industrial Designers Society of America’s (IDSA) Gold IDEA Award.

Courtesy Elliott Kaufman

In 2000, the transition to the new millennium brought its own set of opportunities and challenges. EGD expanded to other countries, and a field of like-minded designers began to make life a little easier, less complex, and more beautiful for people around the world. And the term “placemaking” entered the EGD vocabulary.

We landed several major projects in Singapore (the frequent-flyer miles allowed us to have some very nice vacations). In 2006, Chris published her seminal book, Signage and Wayfinding Design, which has become the go-to reference for professionals and is used in college classrooms around the world today. And, although we can’t read it, the book has also been translated into Chinese. A second English edition is scheduled for 2015.

What are we up to now? One of our major projects is New York’s Second Avenue subway, an initiative that has been in the works for longer we have been in business. Another is an ongoing urban placemaking project in Detroit.

The Second Avenue Subway will give New York a transit line that incorporates 21st-century technology. (Rendering shown for visualization purposes only and does not represent final configurations. This image and others can found on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website.)

Courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

A Woodward Avenue Tribute in Detroit, one of a series of illuminated towers symbolizing the city’s renaissance and pride of place.

Courtesy Curt Clayton

What’s in store for our next 30 years? Who knows?! But we’ve enjoyed the trip so far, and we eagerly anticipate what lies around the next corner. After three decades, what we know for sure is that focusing on the future will point us in the right direction.


David Vanden-Eynden, AIGA, FSEGD, and his partner Chris Calori, AIGA, FSEGD, lead Calori & Vanden-Eynden (C&VE), an internationally recognized, New York-based design firm specializing in the planning and design of signage, wayfinding, branded environments, identity, and user navigation systems. Chris literally wrote the book on the subject—Signage and Wayfinding Design: A Complete Guide to Creating Environmental Graphic Design Systems—which was recently published in Chinese and will be issued in a second English edition in 2015.

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