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Detroit Medical Center

Detroit, MI

The DMC operates eight general and specialty hospitals in southeast Michigan and includes affiliated programs with local universities These were brought under the DMC umbrella in 1985 but for many, the individual entities were more prominent than the whole.

A new effort to unify the campus emphasized exterior wayfinding and signage as the visual embodiment of the brand. Corbin Design audited the campus infrastructure and designed the system for four primary objectives:

Lead with DMC. The physical brand needed to gain prominence over individual entities. We designed a new three-dimensional standard for the brand, using color and lighting for emphasis.

Simplify. Over the years, signage had devolved to a confusing mix of messages, typography and colors. A new informational hierarchy clarifies the logic of the Midtown campus for first-time or infrequent visitors.

Focus on consistency. New standards make the exterior “face” of the DMC more legible and understandable, while at the same time saving scarce dollars.

Share Information. New logic requires that campus visitors receive correct information. Each entity has the necessary information to use this logic as they prepare pre-visit communications: printed materials, Websites, verbal instructions

  • Prior to our involvement, the DMC logo had been secondary on signage; individual panels, arrows and colors haphazardly arranged; type varied in size and listing order, and failing materials made destination listings illegible during the day.
  • The DMC brand is now enlarged, offset and dimensional for emphasis; listings are arranged in order of arrow direction, priority and alphabetically. Parking is now included as a destination on all signage.
  • We designed a new system of parking logic, replacing outdated lot and deck names with easily remembered letters.
  • Signage at entry points identifies the primary destination/address, and directs drivers to other destinations as well.
  • All building identification signage adheres to updated brand standards for DMC entities.
  • Proper fabrication techniques guarantee that letterforms will remain intact for the life of the sign.
  • Destination listings, type size and contrast comply with federal standards for street signage.
  • As campus changes, panels are easily replaceable by local sign fabricators.
  • An updated base detail adds a higher level of finish to new campus signage.

The Corbin Design team presented a thoughtful approach to reengineer the wayfinding systems for the Detroit Medical Center’s Detroit campuses. 

They listened to the campus stakeholders and were able to get consensus to implement a simple and understandable system that will be a great customer satisfier. 

Senior Project Manager, DMC Heart Hospital