environmental graphics on wall of employee lounge

Environmental Graphics 101

In Custom Graphics by ST Graphics

Environmental graphics are custom graphics that are used to enhance the experiences people have in commercial or public spaces. Not only do environmental graphics aesthetically improve spaces, but they also communicate important information. They can provide direction on how to navigate spaces and tell visitors something about the organization that owns the space. They also work with other elements such as fixtures and furniture to create an overall feeling.

Environmental graphic design encompasses several different disciplines. These include graphic design, architecture, industrial design and landscape architecture.  You’ve likely experienced environmental graphics at work on many occasions. However, you may not have been aware of it.

For example, have you ever walked into the lobby of a business and noticed how everything about the space — from the shape of the space to the colors and graphics on the walls and style of the seats and light fixtures — immediately gave you a sense of the organization and what its purpose?

Corporate offices, hotel lobbies, museums, schools, and retail spaces are some of the places where environmental graphics are often leveraged to make an impact. Apple stores are a great example of a retail application. If you’ve ever visited one, you know that everything about the space exudes tech, but in a modern, simplistic, and understated way. Think about the small white apple-inspired logo on the glass storefront, the way the simple wooden tables are laid out in straight lines, and the open rectangular space. These elements contrast with the bright graphics of smartphones, iPads, and other products on the walls.

Here are three of the most important ways environmental graphics can work for organizations and businesses of any size, perhaps even yours.


Environmental graphics are important tools for helping those using a space to know how to navigate it, especially new visitors. This includes orienting them when they first arrive so they know where they are. When you first enter a new building, for instance, there may be an arrow telling you which way to go to reach reception and a sign that says “Reception” that tells you when you’ve arrived at your destination.

Wayfinding also includes directional helpers like arrows on walls or glass that show you which way to proceed. Use them in hallways, on office doors, on glass walls, on elevator doors, in bathrooms, and more. Wayfinding also includes signage that communicates information. Examples include the hours you’re open for business as well as information that’s required by law, such as signs showing where exits are in case of an emergency.


When you think of environmental graphics as physical or tangible extensions of your brand, there are many creative ways to use them. Create a unique wall in your business’s entryway or lobby to instantly tell any visitors what your company does, whether it provides a valuable service or produces and sells useful products. Focus on what’s unique about your business and how you’d like people to view your brand.

Environmental graphics are also useful for motivating and inspiring workers. Display company values, mission statements, and inspiring quotes on walls and glass surfaces throughout workspaces. Use them to remind employees that what they do is meaningful and has a purpose. You can also communicate that they’re an important part of the team and appreciated with environmental graphics.

Publicize Timely Information

Use environmental graphics to educate or publicize what’s new. Tell visitors about new campaigns, events, projects, and products your business or organization is currently working on or getting ready to unveil. If you’ve spent the past year developing and testing a new product, why not leverage some wall space in your building to generate interest and excitement about it? Dedicate a space in your lobby or use your glass storefront to promote it. Better yet, create an entire area in your building for that sole purpose. Museums strategically use environmental graphics regularly to promote new exhibits and generate public interest about them months in advance. Additionally, museums leverage environmental graphics to present information in the exhibits themselves.

Want to Learn More About Environmental Graphics?

ST Graphics, the space-enhancing specialists, would love to help you create a custom branding solution. ST Graphics is the largest 3M certified window film installer in the midwest. We serve schools, business owners, designers, and architects in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Schedule a free consultation, and we’ll bring your space to life.