Gensler – San Francisco


A signage and iconography system that's minimal, but full of character.


My Role: Design Lead, Graphics
What I Did: Iconography Design, Copywriting, Signage Design, Signage Programming, Fabrication & Installation Management

Firm: Gensler
Timeline: 6 weeks
Project Type: Wayfinding & Icon System
Software: Illustrator, Revit, AutoCAD


When my company, Gensler, was building out our new office space in Downtown San Francisco, we knew we had to seize the opportunity to create a custom signage system that reflected our design ethos. After all, it's what we do for our clients, why not for ourselves? As the lead signage designer, it was my job to develop an iconography system, design the look of the signage, and program the wayfinding elements throughout our three floors.

Iconography System

Given that Gensler is design firm, we work with a lot of color samples and physical materials day-to-day. It can sometimes be a visual overload when so many colors and textures are in your direct view at all times. We need to be able to evaluate our work in an environment that's color neutral to prevent unintended environmental influence. To address this need, most walls in the workspaces are a bright white and the signage system follows suite. I opted to keep it simple with white anti-glare sign panels and black messaging. The typography is our brand Gensler's brand typeface, Kievit.

I wanted to keep the signs feeling visually light, so I chose to outline the tactile symbols rather that use solid fills. The result is a streamlined system that is clear, modern, and unique. I created all icons used throughout the space, from Restroom pictograms, waste receptacles, amenities and so on. My absolute favorite is the Mother's Room icon. I love the upside-down exclamation point baby!

Navigating the Space

Outside each stairwell, I created wayfinding maps of the workstation neighborhoods as well as the amenities on each floor highlighted in our brand red. This instance was printed directly to a plywood structure that was an existing design feature in the space.

To help people remember what floor they were on, we also color-coded the stairwell entries and added arrow graphics. At the top of our three floors, the arrow points down, in the middle (shown below) it points both ways, and on the bottom floor it...wait for it...points upward. Given that the stairwells are some of the strongest colors in the space, the end result is quite vibrant and effective.

These arrows, created by another designer on my team, are color coded to help people remember what floor they're on when going between floors.

These arrows, placed in conjunction with wall-mounted directionals, help delivery carriers navigate to the mail room to drop off packages.