Inform-Direct-Protect: Designing for Safety and Confidence

By Jeff Baker, posted on September 30, 2020

As much of the country finds a way to get back to work, we are all learning new ways to interact with our neighbors, colleagues, and environment. No matter your political beliefs, the fact is that this health risk will be with us for at least 9 more months, and is probably not the last event of this sort that will affect our living and working environments.

One of the really fulfilling things about being a Design firm that creates Environments is that Image 4 is having an immediate and direct effect on our clients’ experiences. Daily, we are using design to help get people and companies back to work.

We’ve created a design hierarchy to help us fulfill the health and safety requirements, and like all good guidelines, it’s simple and memorable.

Inform. Direct. Protect.

These are the watchwords for heading back to work and interacting with the community safely and respectfully.


We all look for direction and instruction when we are in an unfamiliar place. Now, it’s important to Inform our visitors and staff about risks, protocols, and accommodation even if they have visited your space before. Posters, floor markings, and info-monitors all are part of Informing.


Building layouts have changed, and will continue to change as we learn more about managing wellness in a community environment. Our staff and clients will need to be Directed in clear fashion relative to what they need to accomplish at the moment. Not only graphical directions, but a physical re-design of interiors is going to be part of this.


While we each are responsible for taking actions to protect ourselves from risks we deem unacceptable, so too will entities be expected to Protect visitors and staff. This is not only a physical need, but reflects on the morality of the organization – workers and customers feel good about and respect those organizations who make a true effort to Protect them. As we learn more about viral transfer, it’s clear that many of our buildings lack adequate ventilation and filtration. Redesigning and retrofitting heating, cooling and circulating systems is an urgent priority. There is some solid evidence that U.V. lighting retrofit causes viral loads to drop rapidly. Here as well, Image 4 is involved in projects to re-configure high-density shared spaces and cube-farms into controlled access spaces.

As your company heads back to work in offices, banks and retail locations, we hope you can put this simple plan to use. When you need help to design and implement these improvements, please reach out to us.

It’s the best work we do, improving the wellness of our communities. It’s About the Experience.