Jane Davis Doggett

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Graphics Built Into Architecture
Concepts and Designs by Jane Davis Doggett

At Memphis, Jane Davis Doggett brought a new functional aesthetic to airport design: signs built into architecture — as she describes it, "not hanging like price tags and labels in an arcade hodgepodge which was the airport scene at the time. When I graduated from Yale Art and Architecture, it so happened that the piston turned into a jet, and with it came the demand for new airport design to inteface with the new airplane technology. Memphis was my first airport project, and it was among the first to debut the dramatic change in design of the air transportation environment into the jet age."

She initiated continuous message bands, signboards spanning corridors as beams, and information canopies installed in key decision points to provide passengers with three-dimensional viewing of messages intensified by illumination of the canopies. The graphic components initiated at Memphis were adopted in subsequent airport design projects, as demonstrated here.

  • Memphis International Airport
    (photos, top row) For the first time, airlines allowed their titles to appear without their logos on a common band that Doggett designed as "a ribbon of continuity" that wrapped around the entire central terminal. She set all airline titles in "Alphabet A," a font that she

    adapted from German Standard, a forerunner of Helvetica. Unifying all titles and directional messages in this highly legible font became a hallmark of Doggett's airport graphic design, and the use of a common sans serif alphabet evolved as a standard in airports as now seen worldwide.

  • George Bush Intercontinental-Houston Airport
    (first three photos, second row)

  • Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport
    (fourth photo, second row) Note sculptural housing of signs suspended from ceiling, which complements the curved forms of the airline information counters.

  • Newark Liberty International Airport
    (first two photos, 3rd row)

  • Tampa International Airport
    (third photo, bottom row) Note intensified lighting at canopy to accentuate decision paint.