Tate St Ives Wayfinding Strategy & Scheme Design

As part of the Tate St Ives Project, which has seen the original building completely refurbished and a substantial extension created, CCD were commissioned to create a new wayfinding system.

Jane Richardson, Head of Marketing, St Ives says, “The Tate St Ives Project is an enormous undertaking for us, transforming the existing building as well as creating a fantastic new gallery and visitor facilities.  We’re delighted to be working with CCD whose approach really focuses on understanding the needs of visitors when trying to navigate into, through and out of the galleries.”

New and Old

Part of the wayfinding brief was to create an integrated system, not only with the original gallery and new buildings, but to provide links with the local community and encourage people to explore the gallery spaces.

Ethnographic research was conducted to understand the behaviours of both visitors and staff, including workshops and dynamic feedback techniques to evaluate the previous wayfinding challenges and identify how to meet the needs of the new structure.

From these insights, a temporary system was installed and over several months CCD gathered data on behaviours and continued to refine.

Designing with history in mind.

The design was inspired by the origins of the gallery – a gasometer. The concept evolved to create 3D signage that reflects the architecture of the gallery, with colors specific to each gallery. Consistency with the Tate’s iconic branding was key to the story and identity of the gallery.

The new wayfinding solution creates a sense of wandering, facilitated by the discreet wayfinding. The detailed ethnographic research informed the design of a truly intuitive system that supports and guides visitors on their journey. It encourages exploration both within the gallery and enticing tourism and community into the spaces.

Chris Girling, Head of Wayfinding at CCD says, “Visitors want to be given the information they need to enhance their time at the gallery.  The new wayfinding system has been designed to do that in a subtle yet helpful way.  By starting afresh and looking at the gallery as a whole we have been able to develop a system that works whether people want to see something specific, or just wish to explore”.

Photography credit: Ian Kingsnorth


Chris Girling

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