Responses by Phillipe Archontakis and Martin Laliberté, designers, byHAUS
Background: Clinique Médecine Urbaine du Quartier Latin (CMU), otherwise known as Quartier Latin Clinic, is a new medical clinic founded by a group of doctors specializing in urban and general medicine. We had to develop an identity and produce the wayfinding signage for the clinic. The target audience is therefore very broad and the identity had to be accessible and understood by all.
Reasoning: The clinic is located in Montréal’s Quartier Latin neighborhood, on the second floor of a bus terminal. Since there are thousands of travelers constantly coming and going, we had to find a way for the clinic to stand out. Using the clinic’s acronym, CMU, we have formulated a symmetrical cross—the universal symbol of healthcare.
Challenges: The bus terminal, where the clinic is located, is an audibly and visually noisy place. It was necessary to be seen and recognized among the signposts, ticket offices and waiting areas of the terminus, which is why we played with the conventions related to medicine—the medical cross as symbol, turquoise medical costumes, sanitized white, etc.—and why the clinic's identity is so graphically minimalist.
Favorite details: The symbol is the founding element of this identity. The insertion of the acronym CMU inside the symbol itself creates a visual pun, which immediately simplifies the clinic’s long name.
Anything new: We learned that the concept of intimacy is an important aspect in medicine. We had to test a large number of levels of transparency to find the ideal amount for the screen designs that covered the windows of each of the examination rooms. We found a balance between the natural flow of light and the preservation of the privacy of patients. It was very instructive.
Specific demands: The diversity of the patients in the clinic, in which the levels of literacy vary, forced us to make a number of trial-and-error attempts to design optimal signage. Every aspect of the signage was disputed, from the position to the format to the readability to the simplicity of its graphic expression. In the end, it was a challenge that was particularly rewarding for us.