Navigating Across Cultures

  • The Challenge 
    For 40 years the Sam Rodgers Health Center serviced a low-income population that was largely uninsured. Their patients included immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa. At the time of this project they had on-staff translators speaking Vietnamese, Spanish, Swahili and Chinese. However they found populations shifted over time. Because of this they needed a flexible system. After auditing and observing patients we realized the signage solution in place wasn't pretty but did its job. A new facility was in design, and the organization sought a new identity to reflect a new space. They also wanted to make navigation of the facility easy for a variety of languages and literacy levels.
  • The Solution.
    The new identity honors the heritage and vision of founder, Samuel U. Rodgers. The original identity featured a pelican. The myth was that when Pelicans would prick their own breast to feed their chicks when no other food was available. This reflected SURHC mission to service its community at all costs. I designed a new Pelican mark without the blood but showing the compassion. It also features a hidden "S" in honor of the founder. 
    The CEO also wanted to reflect the population which was diverse. We observed beautiful dresses, patterns and clothing coming from Latin America, Africa and various faiths. We integrated a tribal style into the logo, symbol and pattern system.
    In order to help navigate the new facility, we landed on a design parti that all communities could relate to. No matter if you are inland, on an island, North or South hemisphere– all populations have the sky, earth and water around them as context. This became our basis for organization and how we created the icon system for each clinic.
  • The Result
    Working in tandem with the architect we were able to find wall coverings, upholstery and other interior finishes that reflected the new identity. A digital directory allows flexibility in servicing changing demographics over time. The multi-level wayfinding system helps visitors of all literacy levels find their destination using the totems which are integrated into the linoleum floor, ceiling signage and on walls around each clinic.