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UC design innovation: Healing for hospital signs that don't work
Date:5/17/2010

Hospitals are large, complex institutions housing innumerable units, sections and visitor destinations.

And in the United States alone, diversity is increasing within most locales, making it difficult to comply with federal requirements for text signs in patients' languages. In addition, about half of all Americans approximately 90 million cannot read well enough to navigate a hospital's written signs.

These challenges have led to a new project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, called "Signs that Work."

It includes 28 signage symbols made by professional designers in 2006 and the new addition of 22 symbols by student designers from four universities.

Fifteen of those 22 new student designs were created by students at the University of Cincinnati's internationally ranked School of Design, part of UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). All the student designs were recently refined by international symbols expert and designer Mies Hora and are now being integrated into a system totaling 50 symbols.

Oscar Fernndez , UC associate professor of design and leader of the UC portion of the project, will present on "Signs that Work" June 2 at the annual national conference of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) in Washington, D.C.

Overseeing the project in its entirety is Yolanda Partida, director of Hablamos Juntos (We Speak Together), based at UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education & Research.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The project was developed in five phases:

  • Professional designers from the SEGD developed a core set of symbols to use on hospital signage anywhere. That resulted in a base set of 28 signage symbols currently in use at national test sites.

  • Student designers expanded the system with additional symbols. (This occurred in early 2009.)

  • The students' designs were tested with English and non-
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Contact: M.B. Reilly
reillymb@ucmail.uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

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