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Buffalo State

Buffalo, NY

A landlocked campus, bordered by busy roads; a booming commuter student population; limited, sprawling parking lots; a mix of historic and modern campus architecture; and a new brand, ready to be unveiled. These were the factors we needed to consider as we built an exterior wayfinding plan to clarify logic, direct visitors, and update as ongoing campus changes occur.

We defined two primary districts based on the bounding streets and campus entrances: Grant is used for athletics, and Elmwood for academic visits. These are reflected in a newly-designed parking logic, which uses letters and numbers in sequence, and is scalable as parking is added on campus. As campus events take place, we accommodated temporary message panels on the vehicular guides themselves.

For orientation on walkways, we identified primary campus landmarks, such as pathways and quads, previously unnamed and unmarked. We connected them using a system of pedestrian guide signs; landmark experiences were also created with the addition of two bronze Bengal tiger sculptures. In many cases, the signage itself serves as a new landmark. 

We designed a flexible new exterior signage standard using Bengal orange and black to orient, inform and direct students. These signs prominently feature the new brand, simplified information, and are inexpensive to update.

  • Monument signs identify primary entrances to campus and introduce the signage aesthetic.
  • Campus maps are located at primary decision points to orient and direct along newly-named pedestrian pathways: “Bengal Walk” is used to access athletic facilities/events; “Rockwell Walk” is named after the historic main building, and is used primarily for academic buildings.
  • Since the campus has large plazas and surface parking lots, it’s important that building names, and their main entrances, can be seen across large distances.
  • Alphanumeric parking logic identifies the road on which the lot is located, and the number in sequence: R-2 is on Rockwell Road. Simplified parking information allows drivers to quickly read and decide whether they’re able to park in a given lot.
  • Vehicular directionals feature legible type, clear information and easily changeable panels. 
  • Event wayfinding is managed with panels attached beneath the primary sign face.

Finally, we built a staff education piece, and helped coordinate an internal team to assure clear, consistent communications before, during and after a campus visit.