Zoos and graphic design, two things that people might considered unrelated in common sense. When I bring up, however, the way finding designs, people might have a rather ambiguous imagination.
A guess you, who’s reading the article right now, might haven’t been to any zoo for a long while, let alone having any impression on graphic designs in zoos. Take that in Taipei Zoo for example, it is basically an application for visual logo, wayfindingr, signage, warning, etc. Of course there is the interpretation board outside every exhibiting area, but that belongs to interpretation design. We will get to that in other discussion.
Wayfinding system emphasizes mostly on the flow of information being read, colors, legibility, and the visual pleasantness. It can also define the space, identity, and the crowd. No matter which field it is discussed, graphic design is never merely a decoration, it is the disclaim for a particular brand. And it includes the personality, quality, and goals, which implies that apart from the aspect in function, it should be expected to have a higher goal and destination.
講一個有意思的動物園視覺設計，地點在美國的明尼蘇達動物園 (Minnesota Zoo)。園內的視覺指標是由美國人蘭斯維曼 (Lance Wyman) 設計，他最著名的設計還有1968墨西哥奧運會的主視覺、華盛頓地鐵圖等。他圖形中強烈的風格使他的作品極易辨認，也使他的地位在設計圈內屹立不搖，反正就很有名啦！
It is a really interesting visual design in a zoo in Minnesota, US. The way finding system in the zoo is designed and prganized by Mr. Wyman, whose other popular projects include the KV for 1968 Olympics in Mexico, and metro map for Washington State. The strong style in his works has became a trademark that makes him super famous in this field.
Lance Wyman had already designed identity for National Zoo back in 1975; as a result, as the vice chairman of previous National Zoo was transferred to Minnesota Zoo, he instantly called Lance to work on the visual design within the zoo, hoping to achieve the level of his previous work.
I believe people who have googled “zoo wayfinging system” must’ve seen his works. Well, I’m aware that there are only few people who have done that. I’ve seen from some Taiwanese designers who have the similar outcome nowadays.
In the logo, we can see the M is derived from the moose, which exquisitely combines the zoo and regional characteristic, and also leaves an unforgettable visual impression. Similar concept can also be found in other zoos, such as Taipei Zoo in Taiwan, which has a logo with the form of a Chinese character and sika. Actually, in the beginning, Lance Wyman used Connochaetes instead, but soon changed it to moose. The meaning not only represents that it is a local species but the biggest wildlife animal in Minnesota, which in this case, the design gives a stronger connection between the decision of the animal and local residents. Minnesota Zoo is defined as a place displaying northern species among the system, while other zoos take tropical weather as main elements in such design, which in comparison, makes them more localized.
Lance Wyman also uses icons in different animals to represent different areas in the zoo. What’s more, he also connected the icon with numbers to give to map a better understanding for visitors. Beluga represents 1 Oceanic region, hornbill for 2 tropical one, otter for 3 Minnesota, Japanese macaque for 4 adventurous, and bactrian camel for 5 northern area.
Besides what I’ve mentioned, Lance Wyman also designed a set of typography, which is applies to all related graphic designs. He is one of the rare ones that uses photos in design, chi h makes him stand out form others.
這款視覺指標也被時代雜誌票選為1981年的最佳設計，不過現在明尼蘇達動物園再擴大與更新之後，視覺設計也改成由 Zubasti Interactive 所設計的老虎版本了。雖然在用色、字體的選擇上提升整體的視覺質感，不過似乎沒有之前蘭斯維曼那款設計來得有趣及經典。
The visual wayfaring system is awarded for Time Magazine for best design in 1981; however, after the expansion and renew of Minnesota Zoo, the design swaped to the tier version designed by Zubasti Interactive. Although its color and typography choices upgraded overall quality, it lost the fun and classic atmosphere.
Note: in Minnesota Zoo, you can still see Wyman’s works.
The author is a college student studying design, and is constantly concerning about zoo design.