Tell us about the early design brief
The brief required us to create product designs for a range of temporary signage products that would enable visitors to navigate their way from transport hubs to the London 2012 venues, and to navigate their way around once inside the venues.
The wayfinding system, which became known as the ‘magenta trail’, included simple overlay stickers and sleeves to modify existing signage, tall freestanding signage, lamp column and wall-mounted signage, banner signs, movable signs and mapping signs which provided directions when entering London from underground, airports, rail and coach stations and continuing throughout the entire pedestrian journey. The same amount of attention was also given to highlighting accessible routes for wheelchair users.
What inspired your design concept?
The look and feel of the designs was inspired by the London 2012 branding. The construction and materials used were informed by a need to create solutions that were highly fit for purpose, flexible for many different scenarios, safe and simple to install, and most importantly, able to be recycled or re-used after the Games.
Did you know…
- Some of the main signage elements were made of a high tech aluminium honeycomb material more commonly used in the aerospace industry. The ‘magenta trail’ was removed 14 days after the Games, and all signage has been decommissioned and recycled or re-used using different graphics.
What challenges did you face along the way?
The primary challenge was creating large signage structures that would be safe under crowd loading and wind loading, yet be as simple as possible to move and install. Design thinking enabled us to evaluate many possible options for materials and construction and select ones which met the varied requirements.
What about specific design challenges?
As well as creating the designs for the ‘last mile signage’ we were tasked with project-managing the production of the first units. This required considerable liaison with manufacturers and suppliers, including assessing their capabilities and considering cost implications and recyclability from an early stage.
How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?
An enormous amount of satisfaction was felt by everyone involved; we were honoured to have played a small but significant role in delivering such a fantastic spectacle.