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Interior designers release free and ready-to-print visual markers to help social distancing

By Angela Casco

The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has left Filipinos and many around the world coping with the new normal—working from home, wearing masks, sanitizing or hand washing more frequently than before, and physical distancing.

These and more are safety measures interior designers from the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) hope to help enforce better by creating visual nudges. Graphical cues that create small changes in an environment, and are easy and inexpensive to implement, these nudges could be as simple as a line or as creative as an illustration.

While there’s nothing wrong with using masking tape to instruct, say, shoppers queueing outside a grocery or pharmacy, for instance, or using juice boxes to ensure distance between passengers as some jeepney drivers have done, member designers of PIID have offered their take on these visual cues that can be used amid the enhanced community quarantine or after it, ready-to-print and free of charge.

Brack It 

Probably the simplest among the bunch, Noel V. Belardo’s Brack It makes use of a variety of bracket signs typically seen in computer and smartphone keyboards.

Brack It 1

“Each pair of marks are used to ‘enclose’ individuals as a reminder of the social distancing protocol,” a description on PIID’s website explains. “Colors and sizes vary, and it requires minimal material, lowering the cost of vinyl markers. Company logos can also be incorporated.”

Brack It 2

Katherine Anne Lantin also uses brackets for her straightforward distancing visual nudge—except it has smileys on it, hence the name Emoji Brack It.

“It is inspired by the Kaomoji, the text-based Japanese emoticon that became popular around 2014,” the design explainer reveals. “The design targets children of young age putting a fun element in social distancing and giving off a vibe of positivity encouraging a smile amid the situation.”

Quotation marks have become cues, too, as Lantin’s Quotation Nudge utilizes its minimal appeal to emphasize distancing, both indoors and outdoors.

Quotation Nudge

“The marks are usually for spoken language and for setting off direct and important speeches,” the description adds. “It allows the insertion of words such as pause, safe, or even a Bible verse to signal where individuals must stay while in a queue.”

O/X Nudge 

To make social distancing more fun, another of Lantin’s nudge designs use the tic-tac-toe game’s O and X as markers—the former being the standing point and the latter, the distance point.

OX Nudge

“O and X symbolizes the positive and negative area to form a social distancing while waiting in line at jeepney, UV Express, and bus terminals,” the description of the black and white variation indicates. “In the colored version, green denotes the correct standing point while red signals alarming distance.”

Up-Leaf Bracket

Incorporating nature as a design element generally livens the overall mood of the space. The same is true for Lantin’s Brack It Up-Leaf.

Up Leaf

“Inspired by the healing of nature amid the crisis, Up-Leaf hopes to ‘uplift’ people and convey the message of moving forward,” the design’s explainer  “The leaves take the form of a person’s foot steps, outlined with simplicity in different possible layouts.”

Lantin recommends it for the outdoors.

Happy Trails

Apart from enforcing distance, Nasstasha Cara Figueras’ Happy Trails hopes to “improve mental health by promoting a positive disposition through encouraging words on the vinyl markers.” The sample box markers indicate, “May you see sunshine where others see shadows,” while circles, “Let your smile change the world.”

Happy Trails

Figueras employs the psychology of color in this nudge, too, splitting markers into two categories—urban and commercial spaces, as well as medical facilities.

“Black and yellow are adopted from caution tapes for maximum visibility,” the design description explains. “Blue and green, meanwhile, which are prominent colors in nature, are for medical facilities to calm, relax, and reduce stress of both staff and patients.”

Physical Distancing for Jeepneys

Early into the local Covid-19 outbreak, some public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers have used juice boxes to separate one passenger from another. This has been particularly helpful inside jeepneys, where cramped seating is the norm.


Vinyl markers like brackets and mask-wearing emojis with passenger numbers may also do, though—at least according to Danes Ganancial’s take on visual nudges for PUVs.

Instead of eight or nine, his illustration suggests five passengers on each side of the jeepney. One passenger may also sit beside the driver.

Foot Print 

As straightforward as Belardo and Lantin’s use of brackets, Cedric Allan Paul Tangle’s footprint visual nudge signals every individual where and how far from the next person they should stand in a queue.

Foot Steps 1

Tangle demonstrates the use of footprints as visual cues in what he considers a milk tea shop of the future. Notorious for packed stores and long lines, the footprints are one meter apart and become visible even before a customer reaches the entrance. Even seats inside are distanced, suggesting that post-Covid-19, it might be better to have that milk tea fix to-go.

Foot Steps 2

Hand Washing Cues

Apart from social distancing, handwashing is one other protective measure against Covid-19 that works. Visual cues encouraging this activity is important, as it has been proven to be more effective in cleaning the hands than isopropyl alcohol. Joseph Niel Valderrama, in his design, utilizes bulky illustrations and primary colors to draw attention. Cheryl Duran, meanwhile, keeps it simple with visuals in catchy colors that remind viewers of both hand washing and proper social distancing.

Handwash Nudge

All PIID-made visual nudges for Covid-19 are available for free download at this link,

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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