Liverpool City Council, triumphant in last week’s 2008 European Capital of Culture bid, will implement Fitch London-designed signage this autumn, as it moves to upgrade wayfinding in anticipation of increased visitor numbers.
Even before the confetti settled on the city’s bid success – expected to generate 14 000 jobs, £2bn extra investment and 1.7m additional visitors – Liverpool had set in train several major regeneration and building projects, including architect Will Alsop’s Fourth Grace (DW 12 December 2002). As a result, clarifying wayfinding and reducing street ‘clutter’ became an obvious priority, says a council spokesman.
‘We recognised that we needed to improve signage in the city centre and waterfront areas,’ he says. ‘There are a lot of different types of signs, without one common theme. They’ve developed over the years, but need to be more coherent.’
The scheme, called Connecting Liverpool, focuses on the city’s heritage as well as conveying information and also embraces street furniture.
It provides three levels of information on hub and interpretation panels (pictured), along with finger posts, strategically placed around the city. A Liver bird motif and deep purple colour offer a local flavour.
According to Fitch London client director Stephen Green, leading the project team with associate design director Roger Crabtree, the group’s ‘joined-up approach’ ensures the scheme ‘integrates’ future signage needs, such as those arising from Liverpool’s putative tram system.
The first phase of the roll-out will involve a range of heritage plaques designed for sites of interest. It also includes interactive maps giving a taster of the project and an on-line route-planning navigation system.
Fitch London began work last February after a standard public sector tendering process that produced a long-list of 12 consultancies.