University of Roehampton Library

Client
University of Roehampton

Status
2018

Scope
Building Branding | Wayfinding & Signage


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Brief
We delivered the signage and wayfinding for the University of Roehampton’s new library designed by our long time collaborators Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. TM was tasked with creating a wayfinding strategy and signage family that supported the elegant form, sophisticated material palette and reflected core structure of the building. The building is conceived to be a mature, sophisticated space to encourage good behaviour and academic attitude. Key words from the briefing document were ‘little black dress’!

Concept
Our initial inspiration for the approach was the elegant, stylish and charming Audrey Hepburn – a no nonsense character, exquisitely turned out and naturally beautiful.

The signage graphic channels this simply stylish approach whilst the materially layered form of key directional signage echoes the gilded edges of historical books and the venerable tradition of libraries and learning. 

Process
We kicked off the process with stakeholder workshops and ensured that we interrogated the brief and really understood the needs of the client and of the space – and most importantly the end users.

Following this we developed a detailed wayfinding strategy and schematic signage family, with stairs and lifts mirroring each other at both ends the signage strategy necessitated clear orientational maps and locational signage.

The strategy was then built upon with in-depth conceptual work that delivered options in answer to the brief. Once our route was agreed on and clearly defined through the design development stage we created a family of internal, external and temporary signage and environmental graphics to support navigation and suitable behaviours in the new building.

The final technical designs for signage were completed with the specialist signage contractor and bespoke built for the library. Using a base of oak veneer, graphic elements were printed directly to the face of the board. This created a beautifully textured panel and a feeling of permanence and maturity to the signage. Additional cut metal elements were attached directly to oak furniture to create simple and effective direction. The layered structure of key signage elements like directories and hanging signage is all hand crafted.

Outcome
“Thinking about wayfinding and signing our new building was a daunting task for us; we were too close to our services. We knew that some new students found the library as an academic building, a daunting space. Thomas.Matthews spent time understanding the brief, our students and ourselves, as well as the design concept for the building. They quickly came up with ideas that worked well for us and also allowed us to provide input to more closely match our aspirations. 

It was a pleasure working with a great team of enthusiastic, knowledgeable people, who were ‘on our side’ and I would wholeheartedly recommend them.”
— Susan Scorey, University Librarian 

Positively Impactful
Success for the new building has been proven by a 47% increase in footfall in the first six weeks of opening.

Architect: FCBS