Arts Complex Styling

Wayfinding and interpretation signs

I have expanded on my creative process a bit more for this project to give you an insight into how I work.


Another notable project for the University of Bristol (UoB) was the interior styling and wayfinding for a collection of 11 villas known as ‘The Arts Complex’. Each villa is an individual faculty and are connected via a maze of corridors that students often get lost in. I lead and designed the entire operation which consisted of roughly 200 signs.


Work consisted of signage for villa entrances, banners, directional floor signs, interpretation signs and wayfinding.

Arts complex styling concepts_Page_08.jpg

The first step was scoping the area and looking at the brand guidelines. On the left, I have put together a sample of the University branding showing the UoB shape which is a 13-degree angle, the fonts ‘F.S Rufus’ and ‘Helvetica’ and an example of their current signage. 


On the Left-hand side are visuals for three potential approaches to the design: Celebrate the architecture, use the university shape or build on a previous campaign.  

Arts complex styling concepts_Page_13.jpg
Arts complex styling concepts_Page_14.jpg

I have worked on many projects using the same university branding and really wanted to celebrate what was unique to this space, which was the architecture. I photographed elements of each villa’s historic architecture to create contemporary shapes, after all, the university's message is ‘tradition with edge’. 


With this in mind, I began to think about the architectural shapes as villa ‘edges’ and applied them to the left or right sides of every design. 

Arts complex styling concepts_Page_12.jpg
Arts complex styling concepts_Page_15.jpg

These villas are a collection of educational buildings where students study literature and history (books). I wanted the design rationale to reflect what happens in the space and so I created a pitch that each villa was like an individual page in a book that comes together to form the Arts Complex. 


This helped me to create the concept for the large Welcome Sign at the front entrance; each subject and villa was represented yet felt cohesive. To support the concept of ‘pages’ and to give the 5-metre sign ‘wow factor’ I suggested layering 15mm thick cardboard which would not only be a sustainable approach but also add depth to the design.

Arts complex styling concepts_Page_09.jpg

The client was very excited by the idea and after approval, and a few changes to the colours, I padded out the rest
of the designs, keeping the academics involved in the process as they supplied hero images and content. 


Green Hat is a highly specialised design studio pushing sustainable and ethical design, as always UoB was on
board with this approach and so all of the signage consisted of FSC approved materials and recycled canvas.


All signage consisted of multiple pieces of FSC board layered on top of each other to create compositions that
not only reflect the Welcome Sign but are more engaging than standard flat signs.

Arts complex styling concepts_Page_20.jpg
Arts complex styling concepts_Page_23.jpg

The last images are of the final designs being installed, you can finally get a sense of the scale of the signs. Final troubleshooting involved making sure that the signs were hung high enough to avoid being scratched and knocked by bags on the stairways and making sure that areas were prepared beforehand for installation. 

As the project is ongoing I am still waiting on final high-quality photographs.