South Tyneside College

As well a further education establishment, South Tyneside College is one of the largest merchant navy training colleges in the country. In 2009, the Learning and Skills Council withdrew their funding for a brand new £120 million campus at the college. This led the college to reassess their plans and instead undertake a phased redevelopment programme of existing college buildings, which date back to the 1970s.

Working with:
Client: South Tyneside College
Architect: Howarth Litchfield Partnership
Contractor: Surgo | Robertson Construction


The project timeline:
November 2011: Appointed to develop wayfinding strategy
January 2012: Test phase installed
July 2012: Campus maps
October 2012: Zones G & E
July 2013: Zone L
September 2013: Zones A, B, C & G
External entrances
External signage
February 2014: Zone D
February 2015: Halls of residence

Wall mounted campus map as part of the wayfinding and signage strategy at South Tyneside College
Colour coded floor numbering on the walls at South Tyneside College
Cut out pictogram graphics indicate wheelchair accessible lifts
Room numbering scheme as part of a wayfinding and signage strategy

We used pictograms to represent key facilities like the library, catering facilities and toilets. This keeps visual content to a minimum and removes the need for frequent updates.

Overhead directional signage at South Tyneside College
Directional wayfinding signage
Accessible signage with pictograms and Braille
Wall mounted quotes line corridors at South Tyneside College
A wall mounted supergraphic of the periodic table
External directional signage
Signage on glass panels at South Tyneside College
External signage as part of a wayfinding and signage strategy

South Tyneside College

The redevelopment of South Tyneside College transformed seven distinct blocks on its large and complex campus into one undercover facility, complete with four main entrances.

Wayfinding helps people find their way from place to place

The Estates Team reported that people simply could not find their way around the maze of corridors. There had been a number of attempts at signage over the years, all of which had been ineffective. The planned refurbishment provided an opportunity to reconsider the signage throughout the campus.

Working with the Estates Team and Howarth Litchfield Partnership, we developed a new, simple and concise wayfinding system that was on brand, incorporated best practice and was clear, logical and consistent.

Creating a strong visual identity with signage

We incorporated the four distinctive feature colours applied in the refurbished interiors – yellow, purple, teal and lime green – into the new wayfinding scheme, to give a bold and easily recognisable visual identity.

Keeping the content to a minimum, we developed signage for key facilities, zones and room numbers in the college, removing the need for frequent updates. Information increases in detail as you approach a new destination, in the same way as the UK road system operates.

Mapping the campus for clarity

We designed and installed campus maps, including ‘you are here’ markers, at each of the college’s four entrances. We then updated each of the college’s seven ‘blocks’ to a ‘zone’, lettered from A to G so staff, students and visitors can find the room they need using a simple format of ‘zone – floor – sequential number’.

We identified the decision-making points within the campus and placed directional signs overhead in corridors at these locations. This placement means that signs needed for navigation are clearly visible and keeps them safe from potential vandalism and high-traffic damage.

Staff, students and visitors can now navigate their way around the college from any of the four primary entrances, and find their way back out again.