Wayfinding and Signage

Neat is regularly commissioned to develop signage solutions for various situations and scenarios – from product promotion at exhibitions and trade shows through education and interpretive materials within art galleries and museums to wayfinding systems and strategies to navigate places and events within the built environment.

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Tate Modern – Southwark Street Signage – 1999

One of our first wayfinding / signage commissions was to develop a signage strategy in preparation for the opening of Tate Modern in 2000. In 1999 the construction process was well under way in transforming the old Bankside power station into the Tate Gallery of Modern Art – but, considerations had to be made in anticipation of prospective gallery visitors arriving at London Bridge (underground station) – one of the nearest public transport portals to the gallery.

Southwark Street was to be adopted as the primary pedestrian thoroughfare and as it (at that time) was in the process of being widened and its junctions to road traffic being conditioned to afford rest points for pedestrians – it was proposed any new signage could be incorporated within the amended pavement structure.

tate modern

A modular system was developed at the same scale of the newly introduced ‘tactile’ paving, which allowed for any signage to be integrated at crossing points between pavement and road.

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Magic Pencil Children’s Book Illustration Today – 2002

Architects Cottrell & Vermeulen developed an intriguing design for the layout of Magic Pencil – an exhibition of the work of twelve contemporary children’s book illustrators. The entrance point was conceived to afford visitors an enticing taste of the different elements of the exhibition. Each exhibitor’s work would occupy a modular space sited around central corridors – signage had to support (but not dominate) the visitor experience, but also not be compromised by the visual intensity of the various spaces.

magic pencil

The floor finishes where considered as part of the wayfinding strategy – a range of brightly coloured carpets were used to enhance the space and reinforce the different illustrator’s ‘zones’.

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James Gilray – Tate Britain – 2001

The exhibited works of James Gilray primarily consisted of fragile, hand tinted etchings. The condition of the works meant that they had to be displayed in low light levels to reduce the impact of any ‘light based’ damage. A signage system was developed where large scale section titles where screen printed directly onto the gallery walls. The resulting signage utilised the light and shadow of each gallery space, setting the tonal backdrop to view the exhibited works.


The exhibition exceeded its predicted visitor numbers and was celebrated as one of the most successful exhibition destinations of 2001.

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