What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding is the name for the information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space. Wayfinding encompasses architectural, visual, written and verbal cues.  Comprehensive wayfinding systems often combine signage, maps, symbols, colors, and other communications.

Communications and Public Affairs and Estates are working together to improve the maps and signs at the College’s South Kensington Campus to make it easier for students, staff and visitors to find their way around.

We have identified the need for a full review of the College’s current approach to wayfinding, encompassing physical and digital signage and maps.

This work started with the development of a new map and signage style for the White City Campus. We’re now focused on the South Kensington Campus, with plans to have new maps and signage installed in a pilot area of the Campus by the start of the new academic year.

Why are we doing it?

Our principal goal is to ensure that everyone – students, staff and visitors, with a full range of different access needs – can understand our maps and signage, and find their way around our Campus quickly and easily.

We have identified several issues and challenges with our current approach to wayfinding at South Kensington, which together impact the College’s brand and contribute to a less than positive experience for staff, students and visitors. These issues include:

  • our maps and signage are out of step with current accessibility guidelines and best practice for wayfinding
  • we lack responsive or accessible maps for the web
  • there is no central location for map information (such as GIS data)
  • our current map design sits outside of the College’s visual identity guidelines
  • there is an inconsistent and unclear approach to marking building thresholds or organising content on principal external signage.    

How the wayfinding project will benefit you

This project seeks to support the College Strategy and Communications strategy and achieve the following benefits:

  • improve the experience of all users of the South Kensington Campus, whether they are students, staff or visitors
  • introduce a consistent visual appearance, tone of voice and content hierarchy that is easy to use and predict
  • clearly mark the entrances to buildings and spaces
  • encourage seamless navigation across the Campus, making it easier to explore new areas with confidence
  • support users at touchpoints through their entire journey, from home to destination and back.

South Kensington Campus pilot: first stage implementation

As part of the maps and wayfinding project, we are running a pilot at the South Kensington Campus. The aim of this pilot is to demonstrate the effectiveness of new wayfinding using new exterior signage along the core spine of the Campus: from the College Main Entrance on Exhibition Road, through Dalby Court, along the Sherfield Walkway up to the entrance threshold of the Huxley Building.

New signage installed

New signage was installed in the pilot area in September 2019.

New signage at the College Main Entrance on Exhibition Road

Information about Professor William Ernest Dalby displayed in Dalby Court

A new campus map and improved wayfinding

Signage marking building entrances

Key dates

July 2018

Delivery of a new map for the White City Campus.

January 2019

New directional signs installed at the White City Campus.

March 2019

A roadmap for wayfinding at the South Kensington Campus developed.

June 2019

Evaluation of existing wayfinding at the South Kensington Campus, with a focus on users with different needs.

July 2019

Feedback from evaluation incorporated into signage for the South Kensington Campus pilot area.

August 2019

Delivery of a new pilot map of the South Kensington Campus and for the College's London campus locations.

September 2019

New signs installed in the South Kensington Campus pilot area.

Evaluation of new external signs.

October 2019

Delivery of draft wayfinding guidelines and post-implementation survey.

February 2020

Full wayfinding guidelines, covering design, location and content available for use.

Project information

Project start

July 2018

Project end

February 2020

Wayfinding consultants

Applied Wayfinding, Mödel Signage and Open Inclusion.

Project Manager

Amanda Naylor