Case Study: Building an Active Future

Gateshead Councils’ £36m Building an Active Future programme has been a three year project to develop and rebuild leisure facilities within the borough, giving residents access to top class facilities and encouraging fitness and well-being.

Working direct with the client and following a competitive pitch, we were awarded the contract to develop and implement a signing strategy to be rolled out to all the sites — two brand new leisure centres at Blaydon and Heworth, and three fully refurbished centres at Gateshead, Dunston and Birtley, all of which feature state of art swimming pools.  This was then carried out to several smaller refurbishments including an indoor bowling centre and football pavilion and a new reception, changing and hospitality centre at Gateshead Stadium.

Our remit was to develop a scheme which would be put into each building as the construction work was completed.  The scope of work covered wayfinding and the identification of facilities, entrance information (opening hours, smoking policy and CCTV), pool safety signs and policy statements.  We were asked to supply robust specifications, suitable for use within high use public facilities and capable of withstanding the additional demands of a chlorine-based environment.  All of the Councils projects have a strong emphasis on access for all and our proposals were evaluated and then assessed on completion by the Gateshead Access Panel.

left: information presented at each entrance using reverse applied digital prints which are cost effective to change when updates are required; right: great emphasis was given to using simple unambiguous language with easy to understand pictograms when appropriate


left: cut out painted aluminium letters and symbols clearly define facilities within each centre; right: signs within pool areas are powder coated aluminium finished with anti-chlorine lacquer and fitted using either stainless steel screws or bonded using 2-pack epoxy resin to withstand the damage caused by chlorine


About three months prior to each buildings completion, we met with the client and went round the facilities, establishing how they would operate and what signs would be required.  We then prepared and submitted a full schedule of signs, including locations and fixing positions for feedback and sign off.  Throughout this process the client remained committed to presenting information consistently and to a high quality specification.

left: facility signs with tactile and Braille graphics are mounted to the side of doors at a consistent height throughout all the centres; left: studios and meeting rooms incorporate robust A4 paper carriers, the client is committed to keeping their communications to a high visual standard


  • Labelfreak

    Reply December 18th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Need to ask you a question – you mention that for the specification of poolside signage that you have taken into consideration the effects of chlorine (Iam guessing you mean it is corrosive). Are there many other situations where manufactured signs require specialist specification due to chemical/environmental factors?

  • Sarah

    Reply December 21st, 2011 11:00 am

    Thank you Labelfreak. Chlorine is one of the most difficult atmospheres to put signs in — it attacks adhesives, therefore excluding the use of vinyl graphics and adhesive fixing methods (other than 2 pack epoxy). We can use aluminium as a base material, providing it is powder coated, stainless steel and plastic sheet materials such as acrylic and foamex. Suspended signs need to be hung on nylon cord (we would usually use steel cable). Signs located by the sea are subject to similar demands but we don’t have the issue with using adhesives.

  • Labelfreak

    Reply December 21st, 2011 12:50 pm

    Ahhh – and there I was not even considering the adhesives. Thank you for that!

  • David Mearns

    Reply December 22nd, 2011 10:14 am

    lovely work here with a great choice of colours, very calming.

Post a Comment