Way Finding; Trains, Plane, Butterflies - CODAworx

Way Finding; Trains, Plane, Butterflies

Submitted by Ron Gordon


Location: DALLAS, TX, United States

Completion date: 2013

Project Team




Interior Designer

Louise Nicholson Carter, Principal

Skyline Art Services

Art Consultant

Jacqueline Chan

Skyline Art Services


The commission was for “torn paper” collage work on two large (56” x 80”) panels and one triptych (3 panels @ 4’ 6” H x 3’ 2 ½”). The client, Children’s Medical Center, had selected my work from a group of samples presented. This was a particularly interesting and fun project to undertake because of the scale and the medium. These allowed for “hidden” phrases, characters and other details to invite closer viewing and discovery under strong imagery that provided site recognition desired in this application. All done with collected papers from random sources.


The way finding plan for the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, is very large, encompassing several buildings and presenting unique challenges to visitors. A plan was developed to designate each of the public elevator banks in all the buildings with an emblem or icon, such as “Butterfly,” “Train,” or “Plane.” These icons recur on each floor to help patients and their families identify key decision points and to orient themselves. On each floor, one artist was commissioned to create artworks for each of the icons, creating a visually consistent style within that space, while at the same time distinguishing each floor from the others. My job seemed clear: artistically add the color, craft and whimsy.


The designer from Skyline on this project was Jacqueline Chan. One of the Skyline principals, Louise Nicholson Carter, told me months earlier that "trains, butterflies and water" were themes. I collected some reference photos and did several sketches before the project went "green". Jacqueline gave me the specific photos for the Butterflies and Airplane as selected by the clients. Once sketches were approved for the train and bridge composition the projects were initiated early in March. The work went along schedule for our June first delivery.

Additional Information

Collage was a craft not usually associated with large scale illustration in my thinking. A few years ago the folks at Skyline asked me if I could do a couple of small collages for one of their projects. The next project they commissioned was seven feet tall. The collage projects have been a wonderful opportunity to re-explore a medium forgotten. As an illustrator it has given me a new brush, as a painter, a new pallet. I have done several of these pieces with Skyline or other designers and look forward to the next.