Transport information design and intuitive wayfinding: two UK case studies

Date: 19 October 2023
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: 20 Bedford Way (part of UCL), London WC1H 0AL, UK
Past event

Our hybrid event included talks by Doug Rose and Sean Brereton, a preview of the new edition of the Sign Design Guide, and an informal celebration of the contributions made to the work of the Sign Design Society by three former Steering Group members.

Doug Rose (FWT-London) talked to us about his extensive and ongoing work with Leicester City Council. His expertise was initially sought in 2007, in the wake of complaints about the bus information in the city centre. Following a thorough survey and audit, Doug designed a completely new and comprehensive wayfinding system for the city centre’s bus stops and two bus stations. In this talk, Doug identifies three distinctly different sorts of transport user. A single product will not satisfy the needs of all. A good system must be fully inclusive.

Sean Brereton (The Velvet Principle) talked about designing an intuitive wayfinding strategy for the St James Quarter, located to the east of Edinburgh’s historic Princes Street. The wayfinding brief called for an intuitive design to anchor the development within the city. The outcome is a colour coded zonal strategy, centred around the main vertical circulation points. The colours radiate out from the lift lobbies in the car park and up through each floor level, through signage, environmental graphics, and lighting. To reinforce the connection to the city, the name of each entrance and associated lift core reflects the immediate geography. Decorative graphics within the lift lobbies communicate the nature of these external offers providing orientation cues, and promoting other attractions within the city to encourage further exploration.

About our speakers

Doug Rose, Managing Director of FWT-London, is a leading public transport information designer with over forty years’ industry experience. Some professional design and implementation highlights in Doug’s long career include: bespoke Johnston ‘fonts’ for bus blinds for Transport for London; signage and wayfinding systems for 60+ UK city centres; railway network and car interior diagrams for train companies and the Rail Delivery Group; and maps, tickets and the brochure for current Network Rail Chair Sir Peter Hendy’s annual Imberbus event. Doug is also an enthusiastic historian of London transport and other subjects, with a related website. He has recently published the 10th edition of his London Underground historical map.

Sean Brereton is Creative Director of The Velvet Principle. With a BA in information design, over the last 25 years Sean has designed wayfinding schemes for high profile projects across the world. He combines an understanding of the cognitive processes involved in navigation and an ability to interpret spaces and brand with creative skills in graphic and 3D design. Sean’s first wayfinding project was for One Canada Square, Canary Wharf Tower at the late 1980s. Prior to founding The Velvet Principle, Sean led the destination team at Saatchi & Saatchi X, and previously worked within architectural practices The Design Research Unit and Leslie Jones. Sean has extensive shopping centre wayfinding experience, including: Victoria Square, Woking; The Lexicon, Bracknell; The Waterfront, Oman; and Ganjlik Mall, Azerbaijan.

Date / time / venue

Thursday 19 October 2023 (1pm EDT / 6pm BST / 7pm CET).

Our venue for this event was University College London hosted by The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, in Drama Studio, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL.


Man with visual impairment navigating his way through a busy railway station using mobile phone app assistive technology