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#112 - Paul Mijksenaar

Author face
Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

Writing of the week

So this week won’t have a CPACC notes since I didn’t study at all because these crazy weeks at work but I will keep going the next monday; that’s why this post is about Paul Mijksenaar, one of the best Information Designer I have ever study and his 4 C’s.

Born in the Netherlands in 1944, he is a designer specializing in the field of visual information, who has achieved great international repercussion thanks to his work on signage for transport systems such as Schiphol, New Jersey, Amsterdam subway, among others. He is the founding director of the information design consultancy Mijksenaar.

It is said that when a person arrives at an airport, due to rushing, his cone of vision is reduced to about 32 degrees and he has a tendency to tilt his head downwards. It is also said that this premise has its exception, Schiphol Airport, an airport city that dominates the field of vision of the most hurried and absent-minded passenger, and which represents the cornerstone of Paul Mijksenaar's work philosophy.

Paul Mijksenaar is characterized by guidelines that are repeated in all his designs. With a basic user-oriented approach. He always makes his designs treating the end user as the number one element, trying to behave as such.

Mijksenaar catalogs his work scheme as the four C's, (Continuity, Conspicuity, Consistency, Clarity):

  • Continuity, i.e., repeat information until arrival at destination.
  • Conspicuity (visibility), the signs must attract attention.
  • Consistency, the terms used must be consistent, e.g. a restaurant must be called a restaurant, not a snack bar.
  • Clarity, i.e. the message must be lucid and clear.

Mijksenaar has a facility for simplifying the obvious. He bases his design theory on psychological studies from the 80's and on putting himself in the passenger's shoes (walking around the area and trying to reproduce the stressful situation due to the possible loss of a flight, a train,...), he also tries to get to the old facility and noting his most immediate priorities (getting out of there, finding the toilet or the suitcases), letting these needs be the only information elements available.

Its tools are easily contrastable colors, huge typography that allows information to be included within the lettering itself (minutes remaining until reaching the boarding gate), illumination and a series of simple pictograms. Each zone has only the signage of the need the traveler is supposed to have at that specific location. The traveler immediately learns to differentiate the color code upon arrival.

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