Selfridges improves wayfinding

Selfridges is investing in a reinvention of its Oxford Street store, with a wayfinding and signage system by Cartlidge Levene, as well as a £10m interior revamp of the men’s accessories department.

Cartlidge Levene was appointed in September 2005 following a four-way pitch and briefed to look at signage and wayfinding terminology, walkway clarity, control of visual merchandising around signage, graphic language, fonts, mapping and printed store guides.

The wayfinding system is part of a long-term programme by Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston to improve customer experience. Later next year, the men’s accessories department will undergo a £10m transformation into a ‘Room of Wonder’. It is understood that Tokyo architect Klein Dytham Architecture is working on the interior design of the department, which will sell products from various sectors such as jewellery, watches, gifts, wine and flowers.

Weston asked for the signage to look like a permanent part of the store, setting it apart from temporary marketing, according to Cartlidge Levene partner Ian Cartlidge. In response to this, the consultancy has created two bespoke signage products in collaboration with product designer Julian Brown.

‘As well as providing clarity and functionality, it is important that the signs reflect the brand and have a sense of beauty. It is also really important in terms of the long-term vision for the store to improve the customer experience,’ says Cartlidge. ‘The signage must also be easy to update, as the store is constantly evolving – customers will only have confidence in signs if they are up to date. An easy to operate internal graphic management system is therefore crucial to the success of the new scheme.’

A printed store guide, also by Cartlidge Levene, was introduced this month and the wayfinding system will be installed in early 2007. Selfridges declined to comment on the design details of the refurbishment programme.

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