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May 10 / Elisa Alexieva

London Trip

The target audience is various, including international tourists, children, students, elderly people. The designs are suitable for all of them, as the signs are simple and legible. The contrast between the background and the typeface is high, which improves the legibility. The signs are positioned at a level that would be easily seen, even when it is crowded. There are signs for disabled people, which are useful. The signage system is consistent and has introduced a hierarchical and colour system.

Apr 21 / Elisa Alexieva

Initial designs and Considerations

  • Experiments with shapes and elements
  • Basic lists of considerations:
    -large type
    -contrast in the colours
    -coloured border in order to be identified easily from distance
    -wide appeal/attraction
    -internationally legible
    -to be consistent
  • Initial design of some of the elements (plan of the theatre  building and sketch of the children’s game)
    -3D objects on the map
The board will include:
  • information about Malvern Theatres (braille over the text)
  • Map
  • QR code
  • Children’s game related to the theatre, which main purpose is educational and amusing. LED diode lights will illuminate objects from a theatre, when a button with its correspondent name is pressed.
The design would be a combination of Victorian and modern style, so that it would be suitable for the atmosphere of the town
  • A metal ornamental frame would hold the plexiglas board, half transparent, half opaque due to legibility issues
Design considerations:
  • Legibility
  • Accessibility
  • Informativeness
  • To fit well into the environment
  • Directional
  • Attractive
  • Predictable
  • Seamless
Target audience:
  • Families
    -Retired/elder people
  • Tourists & visitors of the Hills
  • People with disabilities
    -Visually impaired people
  • Bristol wayfinding system
  • London wayfinding system
  • The KNACK Design
  • Different types of interpretation boards around towns
Typeface considerations:
  • Legible
  • Attractive
  • Relative to the context
  • Suitable for its purpose
First-hand research:
A detailed ring-shaped map of the surroundings in Auvergne, France.
Quick shot of an Interpretation Board in Barcelona, Spain.
Interpretation Board in Warwick, Warwickshire.
Different forms of Interpretation Boards in Warwick, Warwickshire.
Wayfinding system in Cardiff, UK. Very similar to the Legible London wayfinding system. It is easily identified.
“Build your Own Cardiff” – interactive attractive children entertainment with an educational purpose in Cardiff museum.
An interactive model of the city of Cardiff. When a button is pressed, the corresponding building is being illuminated.
Interactive model of a house complementing the information of the board. When a button is pressed, the corresponding room is coming to live showing the usual actions of its occupiers.
Museum of Cardiff
Interactive “information puzzle”, museum of Cardiff.
Apr 21 / Elisa Alexieva

Wayfinding systems research

I have found some good examples of interpretation boards by several different agencies. All of them are consisted of information about the particular place or items as well as of several images or maps complementing the content of the text. The materials are various intended to suit the environment. The easy access and the legibility of the sign are of a significant importance for its successful design.

More references:

Apr 21 / Elisa Alexieva

Client meeting in Malvern – notes


  • The project started in April 2010
  • It consists of joining the town with Malvern Hills and all the transport.
  • 5 organisations working together to promote the heritage.

Feedback is important.

  • Interpretation board for one of the 3 specified places from the brief
  • Use 3 different types of wayfinding signs
  • QR codes are running  (welcome information)


Train station in Malvern:

  • Opened in 1865
  • Only 1st class tickets were available
  • 2nd class tickets could be used to Malvern Links

Requirements & suggestions:

  • Signage could look modern as well
  • Needs to fit with Malvern
  • At the moment signage is in Victorian style
  • Contemporary but with good calligraphic manners
  • Example: National trust – fits with everything
  • Logo
  • The Corporate identity could be changed
  • Think about materials, type, size, shape
  • A playful approach is required, moving away from the arrows; exciting rather than a straight forward way


  • 11th century – there was nothing in Malvern
  • Water attracted people (pure water with no minerals)
  • Doctors used the water to cure
  • There are reliquiae from Victorian time
  • Malvern developed in that time
  • Nowadays the view is more attractive for people. They are usually coming to the hills and then going down to Malvern


  • To make people enjoy both the town and the hills
  • “Beauty and wonder of the lovely hills”
  • To highlight the beauty of the town
  • The funds need to be researched
  • The payment for the project needs to be done by grant money

Victorian style finger post 

QR code in Malvern

Difference in wayfinding systems in Malvern.

Interpretation board in Rose Bank Gardens.
Apr 21 / Elisa Alexieva

Semiotics and Presentation

Lecture notes

“The theory of signs”

Semiotikos - from Greek ”intepreter of signs”

Semiotics – Big Hitters

  • Immanuel Kant [1724 – 1804]
  • Ferdinand de Saussure [1857 – 1913]
  • Roland Barthes [1915 – 1980]
Signifier and Signified
-some imagey can mean different things
Synecdoche – using a part of a whole to suggest the whole thing.
Illustrations and Images
-good to display CONCRETE ideas (real things that have a material form)
Apr 7 / Elisa Alexieva

Task 3 – Design a Road Sign

Tourist signs have a brown background and are often referred to as “brown signs”.  Their main purpose is to direct visitors to tourist destination at the last stage of their journey. Typical destinations eligible for brown signs include

Pleasure or theme parktourist railwaypicnic areacaravan site or park

Information about Brown signs can be found at:

The New Bridge road sign should be placed before the traffic lights in order to be visible on time.

The sign uses a clear pictogram in order to be easily related to the bridge and its location.

Reference websites:

Tourist Information SignSign

traffic lights

Apr 6 / Elisa Alexieva

Wayfinding and Signage Design

Lecture notes

lecture notes1

lecture notes 2

Apr 6 / Elisa Alexieva

Task 2 – “Fight or Flight Reaction”



Research of the process including some basic sketches and drafts 

Fight or Flight Reaction

The colours used in the visual have been chosen to signify something to the audience. The background is black in order to be easily related to THREAT and FEAR, whereas the red colour implies the DANGER, the ALERT, similarly to the warning signs. The blue concentric circles are showing the movement of the impulses. Those signifiers are very important for the overall understanding of the diagram, as they could completely change its effectiveness.

Apr 6 / Elisa Alexieva

Information Diagrams (Graphs, Glance boxes, Maps, Diagrams and Sequences)

Lecture notes

Napoleon’s losses - Russia campaign 1812
Napoleon’s losses – Russia campaign 1812 by Joseph Minard 2 Colours in 1869
“Possibly the best statistical graphic ever drawn”
Edward Tufte – Information designer

Session task

University of Worcester map

  •  well laid out and organised
  • accurate
  • perspective view
  • vector art
  • colour is appropriate
  • it is clear
  • target audience: students, lecturers, staff, visitors
University of Worcester map

Hot or Not
/University students chart/

  • well organised
  • uses a lot of data, which is applied appropriately
  • minimum colours are used
  • it uses icons
  • clearly displayed results
  • target audience: students
  • could be improved by adding:

- pie charts with proportion

-different colours for different categories

Mar 11 / Elisa Alexieva

Task 1

According to the Design Museum “One of the most ambitious and effective information design projects ever executed in Britain is the road and motorway signage system designed by Jock Kinneir (1917-1974) and Margaret Calvert (1936-) from 1957 to 1967. Intellectually rigorous yet inclusive and engaging, their system has become a role model for modern road signage all over the world.”

“It is sad but true to say that most of us take our surroundings for granted,” Kinneir observed in 1965. “Direction signs and street names, for instance, are as vital as a drop of oil in an engine, without which the moving parts would seize up; one can picture the effect of the removal of this category of information on drivers in a busy city or on pedestrians trying to find their way in a large building complex. It is a need which has bred a sub-division of graphic design with more influence on the appearance of our surroundings than any other.”


  • Redesigning the road signage system was compulsory in order to ensure the safe travelling on the motorways.
  • Kinneir and Calvert road signage system is the base of all world signage systems.
  • It had to be simple and legible.
Design Museum (2006) Jock Kinner + Margaret Calvert. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 5th February 2012]