Creative approach
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 textures – informed by the material – have been used to define individual buildings, whilst colour is reserved to distinguish one area of campus from another.

Alongside the bespoke signage system, 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.

Essex Business School, Silberrad Student Centre and the Albert Sloman Library.

Signage systems
The project started as a signage solution for the Essex Business school, but with potential that it could be applied to future locations. We kept this in mind as we proposed our design solutions, keeping updatability, flexibility and future-proofing in mind.

One building quickly become two and then three. The Silberrad Student Centre followed as another new development on campus with the Albert Sloman Library due for redevelopment at the same time. Our system proved how quickly the design could be adapted to the new buildings adding in extra sign typologies and expanding the family.

Threshold Signs
Following the success of the new system, we were asked to help update the threshold signs onto the main campus entrances, coming from either Colchester or Wivenhoe.

Our proposals continued with the themes of ‘brave and bold’ – broadly inspired by the University of Essex’s manifesto and the architecture of the main campus. The resulting signs have much more presence – being physically larger, more durable in the outdoor environment and vastly improved legibility, helping new visitors identify and orientate themselves more effectively.

Colchester Campus Map
Loughton and Southend Maps



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

Jill Tate
Bill Hiskett (Threshold signage only)