Knop Law Primary School

Newcastle City Council’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF) programme saw the relocation and redevelopment of Knop Law Primary School to a brand new site overlooking the River Tyne. With a capacity for 420 pupils, Knop Law Primary School has a strong presence within the local community. Its redevelopment formed part of a wider regeneration initiative in Newcastle.

Working with:
Client: Newcastle City Council
Architect: ADP
Contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine


The project timeline:
JFebruary 2009:
Appointed to develop scheme
June – July 2010:
Signage manufacture and installation
September 2010:
New school opens

External school signage and wayfinding at Knop Law Primary School
External signage at Knop Law Primary School
Directional signage and wayfinding at Knop Law Primary School
Directional signage at Knop Law Primary School

We used a simple sans serif typeface with all words set in upper and lowercase letters, as people read words by their shape, not letter by letter.

Signwriting as part of the wayfinding scheme at Knop Law Primary School
Colourful 3D signage indicates the school hall at Knop Law
The music room at Knop Law Primary School is identified by colourful 3D signage
Pictograms as part of a school wayfinding and signage scheme
Classroom signage with paper inserts and Braille
School signage with easy-to-update paper inserts
Inclusive and accessible door signage with Braille

What our client said:

“The signs have received much attention and admiration from staff, parents and children, as well as visitors. The large school logo at the school entrance is particularly impressive. We have been particularly pleased with the three-dimensional signs used to identify various areas in the school. Staff have been impressed with the multipurpose signs adjacent to their classrooms, which can be easily moved when they change rooms.”

Pauline Dutton | Headteacher

Knop Law Primary School

Since completion, the £7.5 million Knop Law Primary School project has received a number of design accolades, including a coveted RIBA award for ADP. Designed to achieve a BREEAM ’Very Good’ rating for its use of sustainable initiatives, Knop Law has also achieved a 10% renewables target, set by the council and is rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

Working with the architect and head teacher, our role at Knop Law was to establish a suitable budget, develop a suite of external and internal signage and deliver the final scheme.

Ensuring architectural vision

Our priority on this project was to ensure that ADP’s vision for the school as a whole was reflected in its signage. It was important that, rather than being added in as an afterthought, the architect’s vision should integrate into the project planning from the very start.

Working with ADP, we employed specialist manufacturing techniques so that the school’s signage and environmental graphic design would form a colourful and eye-catching part of the building’s architecture.

We re-drew the school logo so that it could be cut into solid vinyl colours for
display above the main school entrance. This resulted in the creation of a durable external sign with a long lifespan. We also incorporated the school’s name in sign writing onto an external feature wall.

We also took the school’s existing interior colour palette of bright pinks, blues and yellows into the 3D graphics we developed. This resulted in bold and striking location signage throughout the school building, which is echoed by the addition of eye-catching coloured wall panels.

Ensuring the lifespan of signage in schools

As is typical of most projects in the education sector, it was important to consider the lifespan of any signage and environmental graphics we installed, especially in areas of high traffic or in places where small hands could be tempted to pick at any vinyl lettering.

The finish of the door and wall signs we selected is very durable, making their specification ideal for the school environment. To protect all the signage, we used either concealed or tamper-resistant fixings.

To make it easy for the teachers to update the information outside each classroom, we introduced signage with changeable card inserts. This is a cost-effective way to keep everyone in the school informed of room or staff changes.