Posted by Yvonne on 08.12.2010


In the last 8 months ID/Lab has been working on the wayfinding strategy and signage design for the New Clinical Services Building in one of the largest hospitals New South Wales. The signage is currently in the process of being installed.

For this project we have been presented with a rather complicated navigational hospital. An extension is added to an already existing Clinical Services Building, with many other buildings existing on the site.

Traditionally, hospitals have displayed all the department names and destinations at the main entrance and then guided the visitor, using large quantities of directional signage panels with extensive lists of destinations. This plethora of information, combined with medical, long, confusing and often difficult to understand and to pronounce department names (Orthodontics, Orthopaedics, Orthoptics, Ophthalmology, Oncology…), creates a jungle of signs from which distilling the user’s information becomes extremely difficult.

To overcome this problem for this project – where many of the hospitals patients and visitors come from a non-speaking English background – ID/Lab proposed to use simple numeric codes for the destinations, similar to systems used in airports or railway stations, and alphabetic codes for the lift cores. A reception or staff station is given a code that incorporates the level it is on: 101, 201, 301, 401, and so on. Such a system works well for people with language difficulties, reading difficulties or cognitive problems.

The advantages for the users are that this is easy to remember, easy to convey, easy to write down and sequential. The advantages for the hospital are that it minimises signage hardware, requires less maintenance which will make the signage look better for longer.

To minimise the number of ceiling suspended signs, we developed a rather unique corner-wrap sign, that keeps the corridors clean, whilst still giving enough (directional) information. We also used large wall graphics to provide clear information without impacting on the sight-lines throughout the facility. These graphics were combined with bold colours in low visibility environments, thus improving their clarity and legibility.

We will upload more photos when the project is finished. In the meantime, here are some preliminary images.