Home » Blog » What Is Environmental Graphic Design?

What Is Environmental Graphic Design?

What better way to impact a customer or client visiting your business than outdoor and indoor designs? A thematic impression matching your brand and priming your clients before the conversation even starts to make it that much easier to convert them to a new customer. Those large vinyl wall wraps and stunning architectural signs are part of what’s called environmental graphic design.

These designs can transform your business and client experiences in a way that converts more clients. Here’s how.


The first way to use environmental graphic design is through wayfinding, which is exactly what it sounds like. This type of design will help customers find their way around your business through a few methods:

  1. Identification  – this can help clients identify where they are currently.
  2. Directional – this can help customers figure out where to go.
  3. Informational – these will quickly answer common guest questions such as whether you have Wi-Fi, how much items cost, and what your operating hours are.
  4. Regulatory – these will help customers figure out if they can park in a specific spot, tell them where to exit, and teach them about other rules.

When customers are informed, they feel more confident about your business. Plus, you will have more time to focus on their business requirements rather than needing to notify guests of arbitrary things like where to park when they visit your location.

Placemaking & Identity

Environmental graphic design can transform your business and convert more guests into clients through placemaking and identity. Placemaking is an environmental graphics design activity that uses communications to create experiences that will connect clients to businesses. Identity is a design that makes a strong sense of your brand and business by differentiating your place or space from others through the use of graphic elements like color, pattern, video, and motion. 

These environmental graphics are often found together, using a combination of physical features, people, function, history, and culture to create a unique spot that guests will remember.

Bring Your Business To Life

One such example is the “Home & Away” public art piece, a local landmark in Hastings, Vancouver. These fun art pieces look like two very tall staircases, one dark blue and one light blue, but they’re actually bleachers for the adjacent sports stadium. They are functional, providing seating for 200, but also very colorful and large at nearly 46 feet tall.

Best of all, they feature a tube slide for anyone who wishes to make a quick exit.

United Visual Branding can help you create or re-establish your corporate identity through our stress-free programs. We’ve been doing this for over two decades with some of the world’s most iconic brands like, Bentley, Hard Rock and BMW.

Exhibition Design

Environmental graphic design is meant to stand out and draw attention to a business, and this is especially true for exhibition design. Exhibitions tend to cause shock and awe to their viewers, and this type of design is an excellent attention grabber for anyone in a business. 

If you’re looking for a great example, check out the Body Worlds museum exhibits, which have now been viewed by 3.7 million people worldwide, making it the top touring attraction on Earth. 

Environmental Design Can Be A Catalyst For Perspective

These features show actual human bodies that have been plasticized in various settings. For example, one body may be dribbling a basketball, showing off lean and taut muscles.

Another could showcase the actual lungs of a cigarette smoker vs. a non-smoker. While some visitors may find it grotesque, many are fascinated, and it’s almost guaranteed they will go home and tell their friends and family about their experience.

Public Installation

Environmental graphic design was initially named this back in the 1970s because it’s made up of site-specific responses to the physical landscape, topic, a bitcoin mixer or cultural context. Public installations use many different materials and media to communicate, connect, and inspire its viewers.

That can mean environmental designers use typography, light and shadow, symbols and icons, gateways, super-scaled graphics, and other types of media to connect customers to the place they’re standing in. These often include digital technology such as massive interactive screens that respond to people’s movements and gestures in today’s world.

One well-known environmental design is Cloud Gate in Chicago – commonly known as “the Bean” because it looks like a giant mirrored bean. It’s now a must-visit place for any tourist and an icon of the city.

Memorable Experiences Breed Notoriety

Chances are your clients have already seen one of Banksy’s public art pieces – he’s a British street artist who is world-famous and yet totally anonymous. Most of his art is done with stencils and spray paint on the side of buildings. People around the world flock to Banksy’s skill to take selfies, a true statement of the power of environmental graphic design.

Branded & Themed Environments 

The last type of environmental graphics business owners will want to consider is branded and themed environments. These are most often seen in sports stadiums and facilities to showcase the team’s logo, players, slogans, and branding.

Accolades halls show off each sport’s all-stars, depicting their personal info like sports award(s), years active, hometown, and more. This may come across on a wall of plaques or framed images.

The More Identifiable An Area Is, The Less Confusion There Is

However, branded environments aren’t just for sports. Large banners hung from the ceiling or wall are a great way to call attention to specific parts of your business. For example, if you’ve just launched curbside pickup for your retail location, it may be strategic to put a banner discussing this feature in the front of the store. 

A restauranteur may want to use environmental graphics to tell the story of their brand. They can use large banners that depict their cooking process, world-famous chefs, and hand-picked ingredients. These environmental graphics support a business’s story, making it so much more than “just a pizza place.”

Why Environmental Graphics are Right for Your Business

Environmental graphic design is an easy way to convert potential clients to paying customers. We can help you use the beauty and landscape of your existing space using the tactics discussed above. 

Unlike most other sign companies, we also design and fabricate all of your signs in-house, without outsourcing it to a wholesaler or another sign company.

Get started on converting more customers with smart design today by filling out our contact form. We will call you back within 48 hours to discuss your environmental graphic design needs. United Visual Branding services both the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and the entire United States.

Locations Served location served