The synergy of specialists in wayfinding to enhance visitor experience

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Our team boasts a diverse set of skills: from architects and masterplanners, to graphics and UX designers. It means we are uniquely positioned to understand the complexities of user requirements and have the insight and design skills to deliver exciting and beautiful results.

However, even with our broad skill base, we rarely work in isolation.

From high-level strategy and masterplanning to manufacture and implementation, we work with the right experts so that the finished wayfinding solution hits the brief.

The secret to a successful visitor experience can be found in:

  1. Telling of the story of a place
  2. Shaping the high level design
  3. Getting the right attention to detail in the manufacture

Here’s our take on how to enhance our wayfinding solutions by working with specialists from across the built environment sector and beyond.

Getting under the skin of a place

Key to our interpretation work is telling relevant stories about a place.

Every single place has a story, no matter how new or modern. Wayfinding is about finding new and exciting ways to share a narrative with everyone who engages with the space, telling stories that encompass accounts of people, events and memory.

That’s why we work hard to get under the skin of a place to understand the stories that helped shape it.

We may be experts in wayfinding but we’re not the expert in any given place. We’ll often work with local historians to uncover the stories that will connect with and deepen visitors’ experience.

From the place where the last wolf was killed to the birth place of the jet engine, we are constantly surprised by the unique and intriguing stories that places hold.

Getting creative with North Yorkshire’s history

To highlight Scarborough’s rich and varied history, we worked with a local artist who designed art pieces for the sign bases, giving a fresh take on the classic Art-Deco “it’s quicker by rail” seaside posters. We identified which viewpoints should be the focus of the artwork to help aid visitor orientation and then briefed the artist to let their creative juices flow. The finished artwork helps to bring the town’s stories to life, encouraging visitors to stay a little longer and explore a little further.

Following on from this successful project, we engaged the services of another local artist in Whitby. We selected to work with Karen Ruffles for her atmospheric charcoal work which embodied the gothic personality that Whitby is famous for.

Connecting the dots across Ireland’s historic towns

Across Ireland, we’ve worked time and again with the fantastic Judith Hill, a specialist in local heritage and visitor interpretation. Beyond making geographical connections, Judith’s insight helps us to highlight relevant stories and make thematic connections between often overlooked smaller towns across County Galway and County Carlow.

Influencing the design of a place

Shaping the early stages of a masterplan

We work within multi-disciplinary teams on large-scale masterplan projects, collaborating with landscape architects and architects, engineers and more. These are always fantastic projects to work on because we can be involved from start to finish; from the earliest RIBA stages that set the strategy and the high-level design, right through to schemes getting implemented.

In Malta, we’re influencing the early iterations of the masterplan of its newest planned town indicating where key movement routes across the town should be aligned to prioritise people over vehicles and ease movement.

And in Berewood, we’ve been part of the early masterplanning stages to influence the development of a major residential-led development close to Portsmouth. Our comprehensive wayfinding strategy is helping to shape the key pedestrian routes through the development and connect to neighbouring residential areas beyond.

Making movement flow across Ireland’s green and blue ways

Back in Ireland, we’ve worked collaboratively with landscape environmental consultancy LUC, engineers TOBIN and Louise Browne Associates for several years now.

Appointed by Fáilte Ireland, the consortium is tasked with creating a cohesive visitor experience toolkit for all of Ireland’s Greenways and Blueways.

From the very start we had collaborative meetings to bring together our varied areas of expertise and create a best example toolkit for upgrading or providing new visitor amenities. The output was a comprehensive toolkit that took a holistic approach to making the best of the network’s visitor attractions and hubs, to ensure a consistent and memorable visitor experience across the network.

Implementing the vision

At the other end of the scale, we also work with manufacturing specialists when attention to detail makes all the difference.

Drogheda’s tactile trail

This was a project that required the input of a blacksmith. The landscape team’s vision early on was to devise an in-ground signage concept that incorporated bronze, so we worked with a specialist hand forger to develop the concept.

We drew up a series of initial concepts for a historic trail inlaid within the town’s walkways along the line of the old town walls. From this, the forger came up with some hand beaten bronze samples interpreting how our concept could look in reality.

It was an organic process, working together to devise a solution that was both implementable but also hadn’t lost any of the important details on the way. And we can say honestly that the end result is better than we could have designed ourselves. Using the specialist craftsmanship and artistry elevated the end product beyond anything a machine-cut product could have achieved.

The Isle of Man’s rural routes

For this pilot project, our client, the Isle of Man government, wanted us to design a series of complementary signs that conveyed the island’s identity. We specified the use of local materials, supporting local companies so the signage for this project and future projects could be sustainably sourced.

It’s always better when we’re together

Our pursuit of creating user-centric wayfinding strategies and turning masterplans into destinations, along with our 24 years of experience, has taught us the importance of collaboration.

Working with specialists across different disciplines, from local historians to skilled artisans, enriches our projects with depth and authenticity.

This makes sure that our wayfinding solutions are not just functional but meaningful, helping to connect visitors with the unique stories of a place and encourage them to stay a little longer and explore a little further.

From the macro scale of masterplanning, to the micro scale of manufacture, we always have one eye on the user experience. That’s how to ensure a successful visitor experience time and time again.

We’d love to work with you to help you tell the story of your place and improve visitor experience. If you’re wondering how to keep everyone moving smoothly, give us a call at 0161 241 3174

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