Jane Davis Doggett

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Coding by Color, Letter and Symbol
Concepts and Designs by Jane Davis Doggett

Doggett's graphic wayfinding systems are structured on codification. She was the first to codify airport terminals by color and letter — Red vs. Blue, Terminal A, Terminal B, etc. She added color in geometrics to enhance terminal separations. Recognizing that space and time limitations make it difficult for people to read lists of airline titles which are greatly reduced in size due to roadway space limitation, she used a large color/letter or color/symbol to codify the airlines in each terminal or zone. Once codified, the large letter or symbol can then stand alone, easily readable from a great distance. Whereas, the small airline titles are not discernable.

The coded system has contributed to the safe and orderly flow of vehicular traffic since drivers are not slowed down to a crawl to try to read the messages, impeding the flow of traffic behind them. Also, it has been proven that sign coding greatly reduces the number of signs, resulting in cost savings in signage production and maintenance.

  • Tampa International Airport
    (all photos, first vertical row) Airport roadway entry signs demonstrate the effectiveness of color-coding with large symbols in distance viewing. Note how the red symbols project from the curbside canopies where smaller airline titles are not as easily legible.

  • George Bush Intercontinental-Houston Airport
    (all photos, second vertical row) The Houston Airport was Doggett's first design challenge based on a multi-terminal complex. This is where she first introduced the A,B, C terminal codifications. Note the effective readouts that the large letters in separate colors project over long vehicular approach distances.

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport
    (top photos, third vertical row) The big "B" reads at a very far distance in the Terminal. Doggett's coding utilizes the nautical letter/signal flag system —A (Alfa), B (Bravo), C (Charlie), etc. Each "Pier" (concourse) is designated by a separate letter with its nautical symbol displayed to enhance codification.

  • Philadelphia Mass Transit System
    (photos, bottom, third vertical row) To create visual separation for the interconnecting mass transit lines, she used geometric patterns and separate colors — curving loops for the subway lines, squares for the buses and other surface vehicles, chevrons for the commuter rails.