Gender Inclusivity and Signage

May 27, 2016 | Industry Insight

While the issue of gender inclusivity – particularly as it relates to restroom facilities – has entered the public consciousness in a big way recently, it’s a consideration that has been on the minds of environmental graphic designers for quite some time.

As highlighted in this recent article by Aimee Lee Ball in the New York Times, signage is on the front lines of explaining the intended use of restroom facilities. It’s clear that in an era of rapidly evolving attitudes, changing laws, and redesigned physical facilities, it is more important than ever that signage deliver consistent and easily understood messages.

Although the urgency and public attention are new, we at fd2s see this challenge as an extension of an issue we have been dealing with for many years. When working on complex, high-traffic environments like healthcare facilities, we have long faced the challenge of how to identify spaces in the least confusing manner, particularly for groups of people with diverse language skills or cognitive abilities. This has even led to a number of early approaches for identifying gender-inclusive restroom facilities.

Based on this experience, we’re inclined to agree with the frustrated business owner quoted in the New York Times article as saying “We need a label that says no label.” In other words, instead of adding additional or different icons or symbols to restroom signage, we recommend moving toward signage that is more focused on the function of the facilities, rather than the identity of their intended user.

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The Benefits of a Strategy-First Approach to Donor Recognition

May 2, 2016 | Industry Insight

At facilities ranging from hospitals and college campuses to performing arts centers and public sports complexes, administrators and fundraising teams are dealing with new challenges related to how donors should be recognized in the built environment.

These donor recognition challenges are closely related to broader, ongoing trends in the fundraising world, which include:

Greater Fundraising Needs
Diminishing availability of public funds from all levels of government, along with higher costs associated with many not-for-profit organizations’ increasingly complex missions, is creating a growing demand for contributions from individual, institutional, and corporate donors.

Increased Competition
The greater need for donated funds cuts across organizations and industries, meaning that the most desirable donors are hearing appeals from an even wider variety of worthy causes.

More Sophisticated Donors
The one-time core audience of wealthy individuals is now just one component of a larger donor ecosystem that includes corporate donors of various sizes, sophisticated family foundations, and large numbers of individual contributors making small donations via the Internet.

More Elaborate Campaigns
Even small- to mid-sized organizations now regularly conduct multiple overlapping capital and annual-giving campaigns, covering a variety of different programs and facilities.

All of these factors, along with enormous advances in the technology available for creating and maintaining donor recognition elements, are dramatically changing the way we acknowledge donors in the built environment. The days of the single bronze plaque in the building lobby are long gone, and its replacement is a complex, changing – and often technology-enhanced – assortment of recognition elements spread throughout a facility.

Not only are institutions asking these new elements to recognize more levels of donors, for more campaigns, in more places, they are also demanding that they entertain visitors and encourage new donations by delivering compelling information about the institution’s mission and its existing donor base.

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The Evolving World of Donor Recognition, an excerpt

October 22, 2012 | fd2s Resources, Industry Insight

An excerpt from our Donor Recognition White Paper:

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At facilities ranging from hospitals and college campuses to performing arts centers and public sports complexes, administrators and fundraising teams are dealing with new challenges related to how donors should be recognized in the built environment.

These donor recognition challenges are closely related to broader, ongoing trends in the fundraising world, which include:

  • Greater fundraising needs.
  • Increased competition.
  • More sophisticated donors.
  • More elaborate campaigns.

All of these factors, along with enormous advances in the technology available for creating and maintaining donor recognition elements, are dramatically changing the way we acknowledge donors in the built environment. The days of the single bronze plaque in the building lobby are long gone, and its replacement is a complex, changing – and often technology-enhanced–assortment of recognition elements spread throughout a facility.

Not only are institutions asking these new elements to recognize more levels of donors, for more campaigns, in more places, they are also demanding that they entertain visitors, and encourage new donations by delivering compelling information about the institution’s mission and its existing donor base.

The purpose of this document is to help development professionals and facilities managers get a better feel for the issues surrounding the creation of an institution- or facility-wide donor recognition program, assemble the team and resources required to tackle these issues, and then take the first steps toward the development and implementation of a successful donor recognition strategy.

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To find out more about the way we think about the complexities of donor recognition, request a copy of our Donor Recognition White Paper from our Resources page.


Wayfinding and Building Information Modeling

May 4, 2011 | Industry Insight

The principles of Building Information Modeling (BIM) are now being employed on almost all large, complex building construction and renovation projects, which means that the question of how BIM relates to the planning and design of wayfinding programs is coming up with increasing frequency these days.

Most wayfinding specialists, however, are still wrestling with the idea of what is practical, or even desirable, when it comes to incorporating wayfinding information into BIM. Because of this, we decided that it might be useful to talk briefly about what we see as the key limitations, and potential strengths, of BIM as it relates to wayfinding.

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