Iowa State University

Parks Library

Iowa State University
Ames, IA

Facing navigational challenges within its intricate and stylistically diverse architecture, Iowa State University Parks Library partnered with RDG to revolutionize its wayfinding system. The result is a seamless integration of clear, color-highlighted signage, perfectly aligned with ISU's branding, significantly enhancing user experience and navigation within the library. 

Iowa State University Parks Library required improved wayfinding signage due to frequent confusion among visitors, students and faculty. The lack of visible directional signage and the complex building layout led to people getting lost. ISU aimed to enhance user awareness, guide them to key locations (restrooms, elevators, stairs), align terminology with the marketing department and reduce sign clutter. The library staff sought to minimize directional inquiries and establish clear circulation pathways.    

To meet these goals and enhance user comfort, RDG assessed the current state, including sign locations and user circulation. The approach involved an inventory of existing signage, data collection from surveys and staff and a tour to identify issues, destinations and priorities.    

Built in 1925 with three additions and diverse architectural styles, the 325,000 SF library presented a mix of repetition, columns, rectangular shapes and colors. To create a cohesive wayfinding system, the design team leveraged existing standards, interior characteristics and ISU's brand colors (yellow and red). A monochromatic system and color highlights for key areas provide highly visible signage that is seamlessly integrated with the library's existing graphics.     

Rectangles and squares, prevalent in the interiors, were incorporated into the signage system to maintain a consistent aesthetic. Naming stairwells and elevators enhanced wayfinding comprehension, and maps developed with the marketing department, offered easily understood information for accessing challenging and high-traffic areas within the building.