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Master Planning with Easter Eggs

24 March 2016 / by Michael Courtney Design (author) / Seattle
Photography by Lara Swimmer. (photo: Lara Swimmer)
Photography by Lara Swimmer. / (photo: Lara Swimmer)

Seattle-based Michael Courtney Design's (MCD) received an unconventional environmental graphic design (EGD) brief for the "neighbourhood" (campus) of a Fortune 100 technology company.

A long-standing client contacted Michael Courtney of Michael Courtney Design (MCD) with an unusual new project.

The client’s Fortune 100 technology company had begun designing and building a “neighborhood” (campus) in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Three new buildings were under construction, with more planned to house an eventual workforce of 27,000 new employees in a 30 square block area.


Designing a Master Plan with Easter Eggs

MCD’s first assignment was to develop a Wayfinding Master Plan to guide employees and visitors to the new buildings and retail infrastructure (restaurants, healthcare facilities, coffee shops).

The client, however, expressed two requirements:

(1) the company’s name and logo should not be used anywhere in the graphics; and

(2) “Easter Eggs” and/or delightful and interesting images and ideas should be available for employees to discover in surprising places.


Guide, Direct and Inform

The neighborhood’s urban landscape varies with new and old buildings.

MCD designed a series of directories to place in plazas and public spaces around the company’s neighborhood to help visitors and employees from all over the world find their way.

For ease of recognition and continuity across all languages, MCD recommended a consistent, cohesive design with a contemporary look and feel.

Each Directory has three panels mounted to the Directory mast.

The top panel holds directional information; center panel contains a neighborhood map and retail directory; and lower panel has the Easter Eggs – colorful photos of bicycles, crayons, bouncy balls, cranberries and more, a subtle reference to items you might buy online from this company.

With 14 buildings built or under construction and more in the pipeline, MCD used this expandable theme for new Directories as the company’s neighborhood grows.

Project Information:

  • Location: Seattle
  • Client: Undisclosed
  • Project Area: 30 square blocks
  • Open Date: Ongoing
  • Design: Michael Courtney Design
  • Fabrication: Rainier Industries



Michael Courtney Design


Michael Courtney Design

Michael Courtney Design is a Seattle-based design and brand alignment firm developing experiential graphics, identities, print and digital solutions. Clients range from Fortune 100 companies to emerging businesses and represent a wide spectrum of categories: health care, business-to-consumer, real estate, professional services, hospitality, entertainment, retail, higher education and cultural, arts and civic institutions. Current and recent Experiential Graphic Design projects include the Graphics Master Plan for Bellevue’s Lincoln Square Expansion, a $430 million mixed-use project; eight commercial mixed-use projects in Seattle’s booming South Lake Union neighborhood; and a ten-year-long engagement with the University of Utah designing and implementing a campus wide Graphics Master Plan. www.michaelcourtneydesign.com

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