Airport Icons, Development Phase.

For my Final Major Project in BA Hons graphic design I decided to take on the challenge of developing a new wayfinding system for international airports, and possibly more specifically London’s Heathrow.
This will include signage layout design, Icon development, Typeface development / exploration and a small promotional campaign.

I thought I would share some of my developments so far within the Icon section of my project. Here are some examples:

These four icons are variations on the theme of departure.

1.  The top left design uses the airport environment, in the background, to help emphasise what is happening.

2.  Top right also uses environment through the obvious, but iconic, runway. Landing could show the plane coming down opposite to this.

3.  Bottom Left shows a much flatter 2D variation from a side profile.

4.  The bottom right makes use, once again, of the runway and the idea of a plane reaching the end and lifting beyond.

Both these two icons are colour variations on the airline lounge.
Personally I prefer the right design, as I believe the most prominent aspects need to be black and closer to the front. I have also used environmental factors to further define the icon. The background features have been made a very light grey to emphasise the least amount of importance, this is to avoid people getting them confused with departure.

This time the icons in question refer to baggage claim. 

1.  With the top left I have tried to experiment with being as minimal as possible, making use of arrows to define the baggage being removed off the conveyor.

2.  The top right is far more true am image to how baggage reclaim is perceived by most of us, therefore helping in recognition.

3.  The bottom left image makes use of the tickets attached to the luggage to help explain the process undertaken, or the desired destination.

4.  Bottom right uses the same principles as number three, except I have experimented with a different style of luggage.

Transport icons I believe are some of the hardest to portray. These designs almost have quite a cartoon like feel to them, I’m unsure as to whether they should be taken further, left in their current state or removed altogether. In my eyes they do hold a certain charm, with their large headlights and windows, although I think in an airport environment they would become confused. Especially the top right, which is the London Underground.

I experimented with taking the transport services and placing them back into their normal environments. The use of National Rail and Underground logos (which can be replaced with any train or bus networks) really helps define what each icon stands for. The bottom left icon is most certainly the weakest, although, if developed much further it could become a strong contender.
I am also going to have to explore with creating my own unique looking figures.

Getting around an airport using lifts, stairways and escalators is one of the major challenges that people can be faced with. That’s why I am spending quite a lot of time trying to develop a really strong concept for each. These are just a few of the many examples I have been developing (and continue to develop) Top four images are lift variations. Bottom set of 4 are escalators and stairways.

The bottom right lift design is currently my favourite, although I would like to replace the figure with one that is much more aesthetically pleasing.

In regards to the stairs and escalators, it is very difficult to find the best representation, as there is limited design features to use. Despite this, so far the bottom left is one of my favourites, despite being modelled heavily around the AIGA set of international symbols.

I am going to be exploring much deeper into all the icons you see here, plus many others.

I shall also be experimenting with colour, and how well these designs work with my own and existing typefaces.

Another possible end aim to the project is to develop a purely icon based wayfinding system, which has no words and only symbols/numbers to aid the user. I feel this could be a great way of helping to break international language barriers and I am really excited to start exploring that direction.

Thanks for taking the time to look.

Tom out!

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