Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Design

First Advisor

Lisa M. Fontaine

Second Advisor

Roger E. Baer

Third Advisor

Frederic C. Malven


As the world becomes more complex and the population more mobile, people increasingly rely on wayfinding systems. The task for graphic designers, architects and other professionals who participate in building planning, is to design a sufficient and clear wayfinding system that will direct people in and out of the building, around the building, and to their destination effectively, comfortably, and confidently, without wasting any time or energy. The lack of orientation in an unfamiliar environment can lead to physical exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and frustration, all threaten their sense of well-being and limit one's mobility. This study focuses on wayfinding challenges in the Minneapolis skyway system in Minnesota, a pedestrian skywalk system that currently connects various buildings in Downtown Minneapolis. Wayfinding and visual communication criteria used in evaluating the skyway were adopted from previous studies or concepts from wayfinding professionals. As would happen with any tunnel-based skywalk, one of the major wayfinding problems of this complex skyway system is that it lacks a sense of orientation. Many people, especially first time visitors, get lost without having any knowledge of where they are within the skyway system.;After studying this problem, design solutions were developed to improve existing wayfinding conditions of the Minneapolis skyway by enhancing the sense of orientation rather than relying only on signage-based solutions as a wayfinding aid. The design recommendations adopt Kevin Lynch's elements of districts and landmarks, two of his five important elements necessary in forming mental maps as navigational aids to enhance wayfinding performance. These elements increase a person's ability to see and remember patterns of an environmental space by creating one's own mental map.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sohyun Kim Chung



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

121 pages