Niggli Verlag

Airport Wayfinding Book

Air­ports are mega-places where mil­lions of peo­ple move and cul­tures meet. They are places whose iden­tity is multi-lay­ered: On the one hand, the his­tory and the de­sign con­cept of the re­spec­tive coun­try can be read, al­most cliché-like lo­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics are con­densed and re­flect the po­si­tion­ing of a coun­try in the global struc­ture. On the other hand, air­ports rep­re­sent hy­per­mod­ern, func­tional en­vi­ron­ments in which processes are in­ter­na­tion­ally stan­dard­ized and max­i­mally ef­fi­cient with a fo­cus on en­ter­tain­ment and con­sump­tion.

This book re­flects on the cen­te­nary of civil avi­a­tion from the per­spec­tive of pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion and air­port iden­tity. Air­ports and Air­lines have to in­te­grate new con­cepts and tech­nolo­gies to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the in­dus­try’s car­bon foot­print while si­mul­ta­ne­ously en­sur­ing trav­eller safety. The tran­si­tion to a new era of avi­a­tion is hap­pen­ing now, and there is no doubt in our minds that de­sign, in­for­ma­tion de­sign and wayfind­ing will con­tinue to be es­sen­tial tools in this fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion. An­other mo­ti­va­tion for pub­lish­ing a book at this mo­ment.

Air­port Wayfind­ing
English, 240 pages, 800 images, 23 x 28,5 cm

Au­thors and Ed­i­tors

Heike Nehl, Sibylle Schlaich

Publication date



Nig­gli, im­print of Braun Pub­lish­ing AG, Salen­stein

view on the web­site of the pub­lisher
Mi­crosite Moni­teurs

Trans­la­tion and proof­read­ing

Marla Luther, Julie Hage­dorn


Bild1­Druck GmbH, Berlin

The authors and Moniteurs partners Heike Nehl and Sibylle Schlaich are two leading information designers and wayfinding specialists. They set out on a quest to decipher the unique identities in the wayfinding systems of over 100 international airports.

The Evolving chapter is a journey through 100 years of airport history: How do airport typologies change, and what impact do these changes have on passenger flows and on-site information needs? Pictured right, Chicago O’Hare Airport’s new Global Terminal with a Y-shaped layout designed by Studio ORD, a collaboration between Studio Gang, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Corgan, Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc. and STLarchitects.

This book is the product of Moniteurs’ many years of intensive reflection, analysis and creative work in the wonderfully complex world of airport wayfinding.

Still in the design phase: the snowflake-shaped terminal designed by MAD Architects. The new Terminal 3 at Harbin Taiping International Airport takes on the shape of an oversized snowflake floating just above earth.

Pictograms are indispensable elements in airport wayfinding and are used on almost every sign. Good pictogram design can improve the quality of the airport experience and can also convey a unique style, value or atmosphere.

Frutiger, followed by Helvetica has become the global standard font for airport wayfinding systems of the largest airports of the world. Each airport could have selected a typeface rooted in the society, culture and design tradition of its location and reflect the individuality of the airport.

Airports wayfinding has transformed into a spatial interface in which travellers use multiple media to navigate a vast, complex and multipurposed structure.