December 27, 2017


For more than 20 years Forcade has been sending a little something special to our clients around the holidays as a thank you for their business. Here's a little recap of some of our early gifts.

January 2, 2018


Have you ever found yourself lost in a hospital?  Have you ever gone into one entrance only to realize you should be at a completely different entrance in a building around the corner?

This happens every day in hospitals all over the world. When we are in acute situations we tend to not have the same attention to detail as we might in a more relaxed state.  This makes getting around so much more frustrating than we would like.  As hospitals grow over time they expand in ways that make finding our way challenging. 

While we have become one with our technology - in acute situations we find it more comforting to talk to someone, a real live human being! With that we are often given detailed directions verbally and find ourselves lost two turns into what we were told. 

For this we suggest a route map - a small handout that can be given to the patient or visitor showing a clear path to their destination.

December 18, 2017


Bader Rutter engaged with our team to create signage and wayfinding elements that would compliment their new office space. The building, situated along the Milwaukee River, is a unique mix of new construction merged with an old complex of buildings.  One of the buildings housed a camping store until 2013 and was originally built in 1874 by the Northwestern Furniture Company. 

The showpiece upon entering their lobby is the 8 foot logo constructed by layering aluminum rod carefully formed to the curved design of their brand. 

We created room signage and wayfinding elements with authentic materials that would be timeless, refined with an industrial slant - using mixed milk glass, oxidized steel and hand lettering throughout the space.

December 11, 2017


We are thrilled to be part of the project team for one of Crain’s Chicago Business' 2017 Coolest Chicago offices! We couldn't have had more fun coming up with a way to celebrate Chicago's rich history.  Chicago is most know for it's architecture, art, people, food and music.

The "Sweet Home Chicago Wall" is meant to celebrate Chicago's diverse music scene. The design emulates the lines of the Chicago commuter train transportation grid and celebrates iconic Chicago and Illinois musicians. The mural depicts famous musicians and popular music venues throughout the metropolitan area. Additionally, LPs of famous Chicago musicians are showcased along the grid. Chicago’s music scene permeates the entire metropolitan area, as depicted by the music wall, which reinforces the concept of tying people and place with the universal theme of music. 

To further celebrate Chicago and the importance of the city’s business environment in its design - Chicago is home to the firm’s second largest office with more than 2,300 employees. The design of the hub, and the oversized flag mural, reinforce the idea that working with the firm is not just about doing good business, but being a good corporate citizen.

December 4, 2017



The speed of e-mail is a blessing and a curse. We can view or send messages quickly anywhere in the world. But on the other hand, the availability encourages some to misuse it. Hastily-written missives are barely coherent. People get incautious with the “Reply All” and “Forward” buttons. And then there is the spam.

As a result, architectural and design professionals are hard-pressed to separate the important information from the clutter in their inboxes. Despite this problem, the speed-focused culture in today’s economy often encourages over-reliance on email. This puts stress on client relationships and teamwork within the firm. In our business, even one missed communication can dramatically impact the bottom line.

E-mail is a wonderful tool, but it should not completely replace personal contact with your client. Professionals should consider scheduling a combination of face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, and phone calls throughout the project. This will build confidence and keep the lines of communication in good working order.

Design professionals would also do well to seek personal contact with colleagues. As many architectural and design firms are small businesses, this could be as simple as walking down the hallway or stopping by the office. Use the phone! Or consider using an online video phone service. Taking the time for personal interaction facilitates outstanding teamwork.

When e-mail is used, there are many ways to make it a more useful and productive experience for everyone. First, consider whether the email is necessary to send. Next, identify the folks who need to be contacted on the issue, and write your message specifically to them. Use a descriptive subject line. If your email is several paragraphs long, briefly summarize the content of the email in the first paragraph. Lastly, take a deep breath before you hit “Send.” Read through what’s been typed, and determine whether it communicates clearly. Your message recipients will appreciate your consideration, and it will be easier for them to follow through.

When you’re looking for innovative placemaking in the corporate environment, Forcade Associates will help you find the way. We have a proven track record with Corporate, Educational, Retail, and Health Care clients. Organizations in our neighborhood and around the world appreciate our focus on productive client service. With offices in six cities and three continents, we’ll be available where you need us. 

November 27, 2017


People at Health Care facilities are experiencing some of the most emotional moments of their lives. Patients are under stress. Family and friends are preoccupied with thoughts of their loved ones. Care providers are always pressed for time. If anyone has trouble finding where they’re going, the consequences can be dire.

In an environment where seconds count, effective wayfinding systems help everyone get where they need to go. Contrary to conventional assumptions, wayfinding is not simply a matter of putting up more signage. A proper multidisciplinary approach incorporates architecture, design, technology, and human psychology. The facility’s layout and the specific needs of diverse populations also need to be taken into account. As a result, effective wayfinding for the health care environment does more with less. It feels natural to everyone who visits the facility.

First and foremost, the goal in a health care facility should be to enhance the experience of both patients and guests. Ideally, this should start before they even visit the facility. Include an interactive map of the facility with online resources, and make sure staff clearly communicates the location of the appointment to the patient. Some health care facilities are even creating smartphone applications with maps and other important information.

Furthermore, the wayfinding system must feel intuitive to the staff. This enables them to give clear directions to patients and visitors, and maximizes their own efficiency on the job. Clear landmarking and trailblazing is also vital, so caregivers can rapidly respond to emergency situations.

Effective wayfinding for the health care environment helps everyone. Patients and visitors feel more confident, which enhances their wellness and increases the chance of a positive referral. Care providers and staff are able to move effectively around the facility to perform their vital duties. All told, the entire health care organization benefits from optimal efficiency and patient satisfaction.

When you’re looking for exceptional design systems in the Health Care environment, Forcade Associates will help you find the way. Our wayfinding systems are recognized for effectiveness and innovation. In fact, Forcade Associates is working on the first wayfinding smartphone application designed for a Health Care facility. 

November 22, 2017


Sometimes we like to make things. Like with our hands and stuff. Inspired by the incredible work of paper food artists out there, we decided to make a Thanksgiving feast out of paper. Looks good enough to eat to us! 

November 21, 2017


In corporate environments, it is logical for the workplace to be organized by team or by department. However, when workers spend nearly every day in the same place with the same people, an insular perspective can develop. Employees may start to focus too much on the hurly-burly of their department, and lose sight of the greater vision. This problem compounds when an organization has multiple locations across the country or around the world.

It is vital for team members to know they are a valuable part of an organization pursuing shared goals. Placemaking in the corporate environment strategically places graphic elements to remind everyone they are part of something greater. The elements also serve as landmarks for individuals navigating the facility, which enhances productivity.

While placemaking, the design firm and the organization will produce, commission, or purchase pieces that best represent the corporate mission. Graphic elements might include photos, text, murals, or inspirational works of art. Every element chosen will reflect the organization’s vision and brand.

By placing the chosen works throughout an organization’s facilities, all employees will be reminded of the shared corporate goals. It also makes for a more welcoming and aesthetically-pleasing workplace. Best of all, placemaking in the corporate environment helps everyone feel they are a part of a cohesive team.

When you’re looking for innovative placemaking in the corporate environment, Forcade Associates will help you find the way. We’ve provided exceptional solutions for Corporate clients right next door and around the world. Forcade Associates creates a variety of design systems, with a special expertise in wayfinding. We also offer services for Educational, Retail, and Health Care environments. Visit for more information.


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