Wayne McCutcheon Interview Part 1: Career

Wayne McCutcheon speaks about his career path and what it means to design wayfinding systems.

Qasim Virjee
Wayne McCutcheon, Carolina Eyzaguirre, Elise Hodson, Qasim Virjee
March 2006
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


McCutcheon speaks about his career path and what it means to design wayfinding systems. "When I started out I studied engineering in school – I went to university for engineering. I went to work for a company and I started doing product design and then from product design I had to then start designing packaging for the product – you know what does the packaging look like - and from there got into the graphics. So I thought design seemed like a pretty interesting field – and that was pretty early, you know in some ways graphic design wasn’t a big thing at school back then. Then my business partner and I, we met up because I got hired by a company to do corporate identity design – corporate identity roll out. It was a company that came from Australia and set up here in Canada and so we worked for them. The two of us worked together there for a few years before we decided to start our own firm. So I kind of went from product design to technical product design to graphic design to then working into this specialty of signage design. Which graphic design plays a big part of. But it is definitely one part of our business - there are definitely many other aspects to our business. I think one of our key design philosophies is really that we are not just graphic designers, that we think about a project a little bit more holistically – it’s really about getting people around the building, having people understand the building. In the early stages, it’s working with the architects to make intuitive architectural moments in the building. It’s about understanding how light, and colour and architecture … even from the standpoint of the art program – how does the art program fit into the overall building? The result that comes out is that you need to design a signage project, and we designed a signage project. Part of that signage project is the graphics that are on the sign, but really it’s not about graphic design driving this ship, it’s about graphic design being a tool within the multiple elements of wayfinding."

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