Monday, May 19, 2008

Way-Finding With Carpet

...or another originally uploaded by FredArmitage.
Our world is filled with signals that help us find our way. Some subtle, some not-so subtle, and many that carpet contributes to.

For example, have you noticed how welcoming and relaxing public places with carpet are? The soft surface absorbs sound and creates an atmosphere more conducive to intimacy and conversation. It signals that you've reached a place for sitting and communing.

If you don't believe me, go eat at a Wendy's. Have you noticed that their dining section is carpeted? Compare that to the bright echo-y effect of a McDonald's sit-down experience. Which do you find more civilized?

Think about Casinos. Although NY-NY Casino seems to have abandoned its branded carpet, most casinos view carpet as a subtle means of generating excitement, reinforcing a sense of location, and generally signaling the uniqueness of that casino experience [for more, read Empty Pockets, Happy Feet & Casino Carpet]. Notice that solid color or differently patterned carpet tends to signal a passageway compared to a gaming area where one should linger and interact.

Think how a red carpet conveys glamour, glitz and specialness to events; it also literally leads you to the event. Red Carpet Treatment and Create Your Own Red Carpet Experience! only highlight how powerful a signal that red carpet is.

Inside your home, carpet [or the lack thereof] signals to visitors that they have entered a formal or casual space, one focused on comfort & lounging around or one about functionality and efficiency.

Similarly, in retail venues, the interplay of soft and hard surface sends signals to shoppers. In Target, the Target-red carpet indicates sections for moving around more slowly on in contrast to the non-carpeted aisle way surface which, like a highway, takes you to other destinations in the store.

Were you aware that way-finding with carpet is critical on cruise ships? Readers Cruise Tips by Cruise Traveler Magazine highlights the importance of not only finding your state room once you board, but also paying attention to the hallway carpet. "Pink carpet denotes even number state rooms, blue color carpets will be odd numbers. With more than 50 cruises and mega ships, this is a time saver." I've never been on a cruise, but am impressed with the practicality of using carpet color to convey vital information about room location.

Finally, I learned about "The Deaf Family -A hilarious sitcom about a dysfunctional deaf family" in A comedy film for the deaf and hearing-impaired which lead me to the original 04/07/2008 article titled "A comedy film for the deaf and hearing-impaired, Virginia premiere to feature interpreters, technology display."

To celebrate the opening, which showcases really neat Video software that will enhance communication options for deaf, the article explains that "Sign Language Associates and Hands On VRS are calling the event a "Purple Carpet Premiere." Why purple? Marketing to deaf communities has to be visual, Camp explains. So the color purple is a visual key."" Isn't that fascinating? The purple carpet takes one to the event, and it also signals that this is an event for the deaf.

What examples have you come across for way-finding with carpet?

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Anonymous said...

Talking about signals that reinforce an image. I understand that the Sex And The City premier " red carpet" was pink with lots of bling crystal scattered around. How perfect!

CB Whittemore said...

Toby, I love it! Thanks for sharing that example. Elizabeth is thinking it might make for an interesting blogpost....

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