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What colour can (and can’t) do for wayfinding

Thursday 22 April 2021

Image showing signage with numbers and colour pipes (to correspond with the relevant 1-6 coloured numbers)

About this event

Paul Mijksenaar believes that “colour is the richest, most emotional, and most powerful means of visual communication and stretches beyond cultural boundaries; so use it accordingly and don’t spoil it…”  This talk provides a fascinating overview of the use of colour in wayfinding systems for transport hubs, healthcare facilities, museums and other built environments. Paul presents ideas on the emotional, cognitive and perceptual criteria for using colour, based on applied science studies and his professional expertise from almost 50 years of wayfinding design practice.

The focus of this event is on colour and its role in the process of navigation, whilst acknowledging that it is just one element of wayfinding systems; others being typography, sign layout, and visual and textual information. Paul explores the strengths and weaknesses of using colour and will show some of the pitfalls caused by common misunderstandings of how to use colour effectively. He’ll also share 10 key recommendations to be considered.

[Note: This presentation is based on Paul Mijksenaar’s 2012 SEGD talk in Phoenix, USA.]

About our speaker

Paul Mijksenaar founded Mijksenaar in 1986. He started his 30 years of airport wayfinding expertise in 1990 with a total review of the signage system at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. His company has consulted on wayfinding at many other airports including JFK New York, Geneva Airport and Denver International Airport. They have advised on wayfinding for: hospitals; public transport including Moynihan Train Hall; museums such as the Hermitage St Petersburg; and bicycle parkings. As Professor at Delft University of Technology, Paul was instrumental in the introduction of human factors and psychology to the discipline of information design. Paul is the author of numerous scientific publications and books including: Visual Function, an introduction to information design. Paul was awarded the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) Piet Zwart Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Register for this event

This talk is free for SDS members. For non-members, the ticket cost is £10 per person. To join our Zoom talk, please get in touch with our administrator Kate at for the event link, ID, and password.

Not a member, unable to join us for the live-streamed event but would like to watch it at a time convenient to you? We now offer the option to watch the event recording on a time-limited basis for the cost of a £10 ticket. Please email Kate at for more information.

[Note: this event will be recorded and available to paid-up SDS members via our Talks Archive within a week of taking place.]


Via Zoom


22 Apr 2021 18:00

Price : £10.00

Already a member? See details above for booking details.