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Gender Neutral Restrooms: Re-thinking Signage
The use of well-designed graphics and signage in restroom design are a low cost, high impact way to reaffirm a business’s commitment to inclusiveness and acceptance among their employees, clients, and visitors.
These restrooms in the corporate interior of a life sciences organization were retro-fitted to be gender-neutral. Catherine Kirk Kucharek, Environmental Graphic Designer, and Chanel Dehond, Creative Director, Communications and Visual Design at Ark-HLW used signage and icons that allowed anyone to enter whatever restroom they chose, but inform them on what they might see or encounter inside.
Make it easy for visitors
When restrooms are segregated, and someone needs to go, they want to be able to find the restroom quickly. It’s a problem to have to read every small sign looking for it, especially when in an unfamiliar place. These gender-neutral restrooms use icons with the addition of inclusive text to let people choose the facility based on how they identify. Photos courtesy of Ark-HLW
Icons are a universal language
Pictograms are an effective, universal and established wayfinding tool. For a gender-neutral restroom, icons are used to show the fixtures and equipment provided in each restroom. For example, icons of sinks and toilets for the former women’s rooms, and sinks, toilets, and urinals for the former men’s rooms. Photos courtesy of Ark-HLW
Inclusive, but effective, communication
The true function of a sign is to communicate. In many places, those signs need to stand on their own and direct people effectively. The simplest way to show support and understanding is to add text such as, “Please use the restroom that you identify with,” and designate gender-neutral, or all gender restrooms. Photos courtesy of Ark-HLW