As one of the world’s leading wayfinding and environmental graphic design consultants, fd2s is working – on its own and with others – to promote sustainable design and fabrication practices. These steps range from industry advocacy to changing how we approach projects and our own day-to-day operations, as described in more detail below.
fd2s subscribes to the principles of the Designers Accord, a nonprofit coalition of design and innovation firms from around the world focused on creating positive environmental and social impacts. The Designers Accord envisions a creative community where the principles of sustainable design are seamlessly integrated into all practice and production. We are also members of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization with a mission of transforming the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves quality of life.
In addition, fd2s principal Steve Stamper is a former president of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD), and was instrumental in the recent development of the SEGD Green Paper, which establishes best practices for sustainability in environmental graphic design.
fd2s has served as the wayfinding/graphics consultant for several projects that have received LEED certification from the USGBC. We are currently working on the University of Chicago Medical Center’s New Hospital Pavilion, which is seeking Gold certification. Other projects, the headquarters of the Lance Armstrong Foundation received a Gold rating while the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, was the first children’s hospital to receive Platinum LEED certification.
Based on the ongoing work of our own in-house planning group, and the recommendations of the SEGD Green Paper, fd2s has incorporated principles of sustainability throughout our design practice. These principles include:
Effective wayfinding strategy and sign planning can have the benefits of limiting materials usage by minimizing the number of signage elements required in the environment, and also limiting the use of fuel by motorists who are forced to drive around looking for their destination or suitable parking, or who are stuck in congestion created in part by a poorly planned wayfinding system.
Support for Public Transit
We use our extensive experience with the development of identities and environmental graphics programs for public transit systems to incorporate transit usage into the overall wayfinding program, making these modes of transportation more appealing and easier to use.
Use of Technology
Where possible, we further minimize the need for excessive signage by leveraging technology. This can include technology-enhanced signage elements that display varying messages depending on the needs of the user, or alternatives to signage, such as wayfinding web sites or touch-screen kiosks.
Design for Reuse
By designing wayfinding systems that utilize similar, interchangeable components, and that use hardware fasteners (rather than adhesives), fd2s is finding ways to dramatically limit waste as large developments evolve and expand over time.
Recycled materials are finally becoming widely available for signage, and we specify these where appropriate. At the same time however, we always consider not just the impact of the materials at initial installation, but also their durability and how that effects the environmental impact of their complete life cycle.
We regularly work with fabricators to understand how signage components will be built and installed, and then respond by designing these components in the manner that will create the least waste during the fabrication and installation process. This often involves tactics such as tailoring component sizes to maximize the number that can be cut from a sheet of base material, etc.
In our own day-to-day operations, fd2s has implemented tactics that include an extensive materials recycling program, efforts to encourage cycling and other alternative forms of transportation, energy reduction plans for our corporate facility and company vehicles, and the utilization of online meetings to further reduce our carbon footprint.