environmental graphics during Covid-19

Graphic trends in a post-pandemic world


By Elizabeth Gressel, Senior Graphic Designer


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then do environmental graphics now also speak “pandemic”?


As the world transitions from hibernation into phases of reopening, graphics are essential, even critical, for communicating local laws and expectations around gathering. We’ve transitioned from “No shirt, No shoes, No entry” to the recent pandemic-speak of “No mask – No service”. I’ve seen quite a few variations of this phrase, since it is rather awkward to say out loud, signage and imagery are effective and essential for sharing new expectations for social settings.


The challenge is, what is the best way to ask people to “Wear a mask” or “Stay six feet apart” and at the same time welcome them to a place?  The definition of environmental graphics is, as stated by the SEGD, “to create a sense of place, help people find their way, communicate important information and fuel a dialogue between users and the spaces they inhabit.” It also feels like recently that definition has been expanded to include inspiring people toward social awareness and the health and safety of others.


In such a short amount of time (four months of isolation) some of the most interesting graphics have emerged. The best insert personality, charm, whit, and encourage togetherness. Sharing here are a few examples that stand out.



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WE’LL NOT, WE’LL NOT, SERVE YOU !!! #pandemia2020 #nomasknoservice #LasVegas #F&B

A post shared by #peumalv #DTLV (@camilaillusions) on



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By and large, here in New York City we’ve been really good about social distancing and about mask-wearing in indoor spaces. That’s why our COVID19 curve continues to flatten, despite weeks of sustained protests, some of these protests with numbers in excess of 50,000 people! ✊✊✊✊ The rest of the USA would do very well to learn from us, learn from the disaster here that cost us the lives of 23,123 New York City residents, to date- over 7 times the number of New Yorkers who died in the 9-11 attacks. How did we turn this NYC epicenter around from where we were in March and April? It’s actually not that sophisticated: . We locked down and we locked everyone down together. We wash our hands! We wear a mask when out of our homes! We maintain social distancing! We do what New Yorkers do best: we look out for each other, we persevere, and we endure. Swipe to see what New York City’s 4 month new cases, hospitalization, and death rates look like. We look like Spain, Italy, and so many other countries whose lesson we followed. It’s time for the rest of America to follow New York’s example before more of our innocent friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors die needlessly. ____________ #covid19 #covid #nyc #covid19nyc

A post shared by Dr. Ethan J. Ciment (@drethanciment) on



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MASKING FOR A FRIEND. Atlanta, ftw (again). Seriously though…we all got to do SOMEthing to get them numbers down. • • • • Love that a city has enough awareness to use slogans that their population will respond to…I used to roll my eyes at “Click It or Ticket” and “Say NO to Drugs”…”Crack is WHACK” will always be funny bc of Whitney & Bobby; “No Glove…No Love” and “Arrive Alive” makes total safety sense…but this? This “Practice Safe Six” and “Masking for a Friend” is brilliant. • • • • Now: will y’all actually DO it??? • • • • Posted @withregram • @atlantabeltline Have you seen the new signs popping up along the corridor?⠀ ⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #AtlantaBeltLine #OntheBeltLine #ATL #DiscoverATL #ExploreATL #ATLStrong #StaySafe #MaskOn #SocialDistancing

A post shared by Shana Tucker (@shanatucker) on


mural dedicated to nurses during Covid-19

Mural by Tristan Eaton



Example of TD Bank's environmental graphics and wayfinding during Covid-19

Photo by Jo Ann Secor


Poster House uses environmental graphics to help staff maintain a safe distance apart.

Photo by Poster House


This poster of a nurse is an example of environmental graphics related to Covid-19.

Poster design by Thomas Wimberly





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