Talks and events

The Society offers a regular programme of talks designed to inspire, improve practice and encourage innovation. We cover a wide range of topics from design and associated disciplines to academic research, technology, processes and standards.

Our talks are usually monthly, with most still online via Zoom (recordings are posted in the talks archive). However, we are now offering quarterly in-person events in central London too.

Upcoming talks

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Join us for this crash course seminar in sustainable signage illumination, with Applelec’s Lauren Flint. Lauren goes back to basics: dispelling myths, busting the jargon and explaining the key features you need to look for in your illumination solution and what that means for your signage/wayfinding designs, as well as for the end user. By the end of this session, Lauren hopes to have given you the confidence to identify the right solutions and talk to your customers about the sustainable benefits of your products.

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Past talks

Recordings of the past talks are available for members.

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This talk, by Alastair Somerville of Acuity Design, used examples from projects for Imperial War Museum, English Heritage, National Trust, and Transport for Manchester to show how a sequence of wayfinding materials that pay attention to the active interaction of an individual’s capacities in relation to the organisation’s capabilities can help people to find their […]

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You are invited to an exciting, in-person symposium, organised by SDS and SEGD London, with six expert speakers: Veronika Eggar, Simon Kinneir, Liam Proudlock, Rachel Smalley, Neil Smith, Rosie Smith and Alexandra Verdeil.

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14 March 2024 (1pm GMT) Nourhan Bassam, author of recently published ‘The Gendered City‘, delved into the challenges faced by women and marginalised groups in urban environments, and explored the need for inclusive and gender-sensitive urban design. She presented a range of viewpoints on understanding and addressing the experiences and perspectives of women in cities, […]

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This content is limited for members only Within our member-only pages we provide a wide range of useful information resources including: Recordings of our talks Presentations Academic research papers Case studies Guidance on standards and good practice Project opportunities Join the SDS today to access our priviliged member-only information. SDS members and other registered site users: to […]

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In this talk, Urgent.Agency’s Michaela Pihl Olsen and Rose Marie Zeynoun spotlight two aspects that often shape our understanding of way finding and inclusive design. Firstly, they delve into the perception gap surrounding wayfinding: how it is commonly perceived versus what it actually entails. Secondly, they shine a light on a common misconception among designers, exploring how inclusive design is sometimes as a burden rather than a creative opportunity.

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Why public space matters

Date: 12 December 2023
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This content is limited for members only Within our member-only pages we provide a wide range of useful information resources including: Recordings of our talks Presentations Academic research papers Case studies Guidance on standards and good practice Project opportunities Join the SDS today to access our priviliged member-only information. SDS members and other registered site users: to […]

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Join us online via Zoom at 1pm GMT on Thursday 16 November ’23 to hear wayfinding designer Jaap Knevel share insights from his Master’s thesis, ‘There must be other ways’ which concluded a two year artistic research project at the Department of Visual Communication at Konstfack University in Stockholm, Sweden. Jaap discusses the lessons learned from engaging with different groups who challenge the norms of wayfinding design, shares the personal experiences that led him to question his creative preconceptions, and reflects on a series of experimental maps, signs, and pictograms he created as a reaction.

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Join us online or in person on the evening of 19 October for our autumn party. We have talks by Doug Rose and Sean Brereton, an informal celebration of the contributions made to the work of the Sign Design Society by three former Steering Group members. and the launch of the new edition of the Sign Design Guide.

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Wayfinding as a social activity

Date: 21 September 2023

This content is limited for members only Within our member-only pages we provide a wide range of useful information resources including: Recordings of our talks Presentations Academic research papers Case studies Guidance on standards and good practice Project opportunities Join the SDS today to access our priviliged member-only information. SDS members and other registered site users: to […]

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Sustainable design

Date: 20 July 2023

Our speakers Sander Baumann (/designworkplan) and Robin Howie (Fieldwork Facility) join us to share their varied and innovative approaches to using sustainable design in their placemaking and wayfinding work.

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In 2006, Michèl Verheem founded ID-LAB in Melbourne, Australia. At that time, designers in Australia were creating sign systems that looked good but didn’t always function as well as hoped, and the term “wayfinding” wasn’t that widely used.

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Front cover of David Barrie's book 'Incredible Journeys' and a map showing the migratory pattern of Terns

David Barrie describes some of the key navigational mechanisms animals use, including path integration, the use of the sun, moon and stars, the sense of smell, as well as the earth’s magnetic field.

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Making Borough Yards happen

Date: 25 March 2023
Evening view of Borough Yards development taken from underneath railway arches, with a focus on an empty, lit-up office building.

Join us at Franco Manca London Bridge from 5pm for an informal catch-up over a beer and maybe something to eat. With the twilight tour of the Borough Yards development starting at 6.15pm GMT.

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Left hand feeling a Braille blue sign fixed onto a railing.

On the eve of the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, we welcome Katya Kadurina from Studio MoreInfo to share a uniquely Ukrainian perspective on wayfinding design.

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Lone woman with an umbrella waiting to cross a busy urban road at night time.

As women, girls, and gender diverse people, the public spaces of the city are not designed for us. They do not reflect our needs. We must adapt to them. This is the case all around the world. As we move through urban spaces, we are often filled with fear rather than confidence. Concerns for our […]

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12 examples of wayfinding signage

This content is limited for members only Within our member-only pages we provide a wide range of useful information resources including: Recordings of our talks Presentations Academic research papers Case studies Guidance on standards and good practice Project opportunities Join the SDS today to access our priviliged member-only information. SDS members and other registered site users: to […]

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View of external steps showing railing dividing the two sides

Attendees can expect to learn about what some might regard as basics such as tonal contrast, but also about more advanced subjects such as sensory processing, sensory noise, sensory overload, and the significance of context to memory. The relevance and paradoxes of choice and permission also feature in the talk.

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External shot of the National Museum Norway with branding signage by Endpoint

How do you make visiting the National Museum, Norway about more than just viewing Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’? This was a key question asked by the client team for the new National Museum, and one that Endpoint were tasked to address and solve.

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Blurred image of a red London bus passing down Oxford Street at night, with an Applied Information Group wayfinding totem featuring in the foreground (view is rainy, evening one)

For this hybrid event, Tim Fendley talks about how to create a legible city. From the perspective of three interlinking factors: an understanding of people and their emotions; institutions and how they behave; and the capability of technology.

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Busy road cross-section in Wuhan, China

From her experience as a designer and a doctoral researcher, Colette explains the different ways people navigate, six key influences that cause waylosing and how designers can help create inclusive, navigable environments.

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Passengers milling around Arrivals Hall at an unspecified German airport

Heike Nehl and Sibylle Schlaich from Moniteurs explore the unique identities and wayfinding systems at over a hundred airports, sharing past stories, current challenges and promising future trends for navigating airports around the world. 

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People climbing up craggy terrain, using wayfinding arrows drawn onto rocks to find the safest pathway

Professor Terry talk shares his experiences of outdoor navigation for adventure activities. He introduces a new group he has set up and chairs, the Outdoor Adventure Navigation Special Interest Group within the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN).

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

There are two key means to help people with vision impairments to find their way through the built environment. The first is by making structural alterations to the build environment so that it better meets their particular needs. The second is by creating technology to assist people with vision impairments, providing them with the information that they are unable to access due to their limited sight. In this talk we’ll be focussing on the second of these: assistive technologies to help wayfinding for vision impaired people.

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Yellow-coloured arrow facing right pointin to 'Functional Design' positioned to the right of the image

Danish graphic designer Janik Frithioff shares fascinating examples of functional design solutions, and explores the key principles for designing wayfinding, traffic information, typography and visual communications for public places.

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Planes, trains and map design

Date: 24 February 2022
Image showing a fan with the world map printed upon it side by side with a yesteryear rail travel poster

Christian Nolle and Mark Ovenden explore influences on airline and railway maps, looking at changing design considerations and the evolution of travel information design.

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