Dotdash, a Brisbane-based multidisciplinary design company, recently provided a unique opportunity for Brisbane Girls Grammar School senior design students to learn about the discipline of ‘wayfinding’ from three generations of female designers. Director, Despina Macris, was joined by Senior Design Manager, Felicity Walsh, and Environmental Designer, Keelie Smith. The presentation doubled as a retrospective journey of the company’s extensive portfolio of work in Brisbane and internationally and offered students insight into the characteristics and the benefits of pursuing a career in this discipline of design. Students were immediately impressed as they quickly identified local wayfinding they had inadvertently utilised or had been exposed to every day on their way to school.
Wayfinding is the art and science of designing systems to help people navigate through physical environments. It involves creating signage, maps, and other visual cues to help people find their way around buildings, cities, and other public spaces. It requires an understanding of human psychology, the complexities of urban environments as well as an ability to work with a variety of architectural materials and multidisciplinary design mediums.
The Dotdash presentation highlighted the importance of collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking in the wayfinding process. The company has a close-knit team of graphic, industrial, and urban designers who work together to create solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They also emphasised the importance of understanding the cultural context of a place and incorporating that into the design.
One key message that came out of the presentation was the importance of an evidence-based, logical, and iterative design process. This resonated with the students, who are often required to use a similar approach in their coursework. By emphasising the importance of research and iterative testing of their designs with the public, Dotdash demonstrated to the students how they could apply their skills in a real-world setting.
In addition to providing insight into the discipline of wayfinding, the presentation also showcased some of Dotdash’s recent projects, including their work on the Brisbane Public Transport overlays and the recent revitalisation of the Thomas Dixon Centre. The company has also been heavily involved in preliminary work for the upcoming Brisbane Olympics, which will require extensive wayfinding systems for athletes, spectators, and the public.
Overall, the presentation was a valuable learning opportunity for the senior design students. By hearing from three generations of female designers, they were able to gain a deeper understanding of the discipline of wayfinding and its real-world applications. Despina and her team emphasised that our senior design students are uniquely positioned in an unprecedented time of Brisbane development. This inspiration and the insight into the collaborative and iterative design process used by Dotdash provided a unique opportunity to which they can apply to their own coursework and future careers.
Mr Shane Skillen
Head of Learning Innovation and Design