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Work in Progress: St Benedict’s Hospice

Earlier this year we were asked to consider signs and wayfinding for St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland, which was relocating to a brand new site complete with sea view at Ryhope.  The £12m project includes 14 in-patient beds, day care, a specialist lymphoedema unit and outpatient services, as well as an education centre and community nursing teams.

Working closely with P+HS Architects and the NHS staff who were going to be based there, we quickly established that as with other specialist and palliative care health projects we have been involved with, a non-institutional approach was required, a first for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust .  Sensitive consideration has been given to materials, colours and language to tie in with the projects’ “boutique hotel” philosophy, while maintaining an appropriate level of signing for a healthcare facility.

Externally, colours and materials have been selected to fit with the exterior of the building and the surrounding landscape. Information is presented in a clear concise format following the principles outlined in the NHS Wayfinding document and the Sign Design Guide.  The NHS typeface Frutiger has been retained.

Different sign formats are used to direct pedestrians and vehicles and provide information. The site sits on top of a hill over looking the North Sea. All signs are powder coated aluminum and posts are set into larger than usual concrete foundations, robust enough to cope with the North East winds.

We created a special design for window manifestations which are required to meet with building regulations.  The client was very keen on something other than the standard dots, squares or stripes, especially in the day care and bedroom areas.

Manifestation design created for the project. The Hospice crest is also incorporated into the entrance doors.

Internal signs follow a softer format and pick up on the colours used in the interior palette.  The scale of the signs are determined by the spaces they fit into, achieving a delicate balance between providing the right information at the right place, without sign overload or very large signs in small spaces as can happen at some healthcare sites.  The use of Frutiger as the main typeface follows through from the external signs.  Statutory notices are scaled to match the door signs.

Internal wayfinding: easily recognisable pictograms are used in conjunction with short descriptions.

For door signs we focused on colour, contrast and clarity of message, using painted aluminium shapes. Door identification follows a square format with toilet pictograms set onto disks.

1 Comment
  • Jus Hobbs

    Reply July 16th, 2013 3:35 pm

    Love the subtle colours and clarity of the internal signs. Whilst no longer a graphic designer by trade, I am still very interested in all items ‘graphic’ and ‘design’, and a recent trip to hospital myself left me recoiling in design horror at the eclectic array of colourful signs attempting, and failing, to lead me to my destination!

    Your signage here is most pleasing to the directionally confused eye and I feel a calmness descend – superb!

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