Asterisk created a system of temporary signage to help organizations deliver clear guidance and easy-to-follow instructions once they choose to reopen their facilities to employees and visitors.
Inspired by the collaborative spirit of the times, we are sharing the system’s basic design components with small businesses and non-profits for use in their own spaces. The system, called GamePlan™, can be used in offices, apartments, stores, museums, hotels, or anywhere else where the standards of how people use space have shifted.
We originally developed GamePlan while working with client National Instruments (NI) to design a temporary signage program that could be applied, produced, and quickly rolled out to address the changing navigation needs of NI’s global campuses.
“The facilities team at NI understood that they were going to be asking employees to move through places and interact with one another in unfamiliar and unintuitive ways,” said Asterisk co-founder Susanne Harrington, “and we recognized that a totally new system of signage would be needed to help people understand and follow the new guidelines.”
We have made the system’s basic components available for free to not-for-profits and small businesses. These organizations can download PDF files and production guidance and apply them based on their own policies, procedures, and spaces. We have already seen downloads from organizations ranging from churches and arts groups to large educational entities and small businesses around the country.
We are also working with existing and new clients to customize the system and apply it to larger corporate facilities, campuses, apartment buildings, or other expansive projects too complex for do-it-yourself implementation.
In an acknowledgment of the tight timeframes organizations are managing as they prepare their facilities to reopen, we designed GamePlan to be rapidly deployable using readily available materials and common office printers. Large-format elements and exterior signs too large for in-house printing can be produced by many local quick-print shops, including those we are partnering with to help streamline the process.
The system helps organizations deliver clear guidance to employees, visitors, or tenants by using a combination of colors, forms, and messages that make it highly visible, universally understood, and authoritative. The standard components focus on aspects of daily or workplace life that require a dramatic change in behavior. This includes things such as defined circulation patterns, reduced room occupancy limits, distancing and personal space guidelines, PPE requirements, and hygiene expectations.
The first rollout of GamePlan is underway at National Instruments’ Austin campus. And as the company prepares for employees to gradually begin returning to work, the National Instruments facilities team views the new signage as an important component of their overall strategy.
“The sign program is simple and well-developed,” said NI’s Director of Global Facilities Scott Strzinek. “It will encourage our employees to return to our workplace with confidence in our plan — one that’s communicated clearly and in a manner that supports our new way of working.”
For our design team, the intense, two-week effort to create and document GamePlan — all done remotely — seemed like an excellent use of time in a world where many firms are looking for ways to contribute to society’s response to the pandemic.
“From our past work on the design of signage for large healthcare facilities, we understand the challenges people face when they are trying to navigate an environment while under physical and emotional stress,” said Harrington.
“It’s clear that we are all under some of these same kinds of stresses right now,” she continued, “and the best way to address that in the environment is through signage that delivers straightforward, unmistakable messages with clarity and consistency.”
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