Over the Christmas break I spent quite a few hours in various different airports in both the UK and America. Firstly I flew from Glasgow to Bristol, then Gatwick to Orlando (Florida), then Orlando back to Gatwick and finally Gatwick back to Glasgow again. During this time, the graphic design of all of the airport signs really impressed me. Normally I just look at the signs and follow the directions like everyone else, but perhaps it was my most recent university project where I spent a lot of time working on the graphic design, font and layout of the day, date and month on a perpetual wall calendar that triggered it.
It’s the simplicity and brutal functionality that interests me the most. The globally comprehensible symbols, colours and icons, and English text (normally accompanied by the native language), means that airports can be navigated effortlessly by anyone, of most ages and nationalities.
Although road signs are similar in this way, they are quite unique to their corresponding country. I therefore don’t think I know of another signage system as globally comprehensible as airport signs!
Due to this very functional and minimalist design, there is not much more that needs to be said. Sometimes what appears to be the simplest of designs are the most effective. There is no need to over complicate it. In my opinion, this is a fine example of ‘great design’.
Below are a few photographs that I took of the different airport signs in the various airports I visited whilst on my travels.