University of Essex

University of Essex


Wayfinding & Signage | Typeface design

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Since late 2014 we have been working with the University of Essex designing a comprehensive signage system for a series of new buildings on the Colchester campus; the Essex Business School, the Silberrad Student Centre and the Library Extension. A key element to the brief was to think about a system that would adapt and translate campus-wide; for all internal/external signage and wayfinding.

Three distinctly different buildings in terms of design, personality and usage; located in different areas of the campus; our challenge was to create a system that had foundations in the University’s character, but was also flexible enough to reflect the unique character of the building.

After researching the University’s history and spending time on campus we defined unifying features that gave us clear conceptual drivers for the signage design. We took inspiration from the brutalist and mid-century architecture found on campus; strong vertical and horizontal characteristics define many of the buildings with a focus on modularity and form. The resulting signage reflects these observations: Bold and unapologetic in form, it is highly functional and legible. A palette of material textures have been used to define buildings, colour is used to distinguish one from another.

We created a new display typeface for the campus, Essex Modular, to help unify the signage family. This features vertical and horizontal lines that echo the architecture on site and creates a unique modular typeface.

Architects: Essex Business School – BDP / Silberrad Student Centre & The Albert Sloman Library – Patel Taylor

Photography: Jill Tate