Designing Down Under

Designing Down Under

Designing Down Under – Part 1
BrandCulture creates wayfinding to connect Sydney rail commuters

Read Time: 4 Minutes

In the Sydney metropolitan area and across the Australian state of New South Wales, BrandCulture has implemented new wayfinding strategies for the region’s rail systems.

Since 2016, BrandCulture has worked closely with Transport for NSW (pronounced “Transport for New South Wales”) as wayfinding consultants for the Sydney Suburban Train and Intercity networks, as well as More Trains, More Services (MTMS).

The hybrid urban-suburban Sydney rail system, alone, includes 170 stations spread over eight lines. BrandCulture was tasked with enhancing the passenger experience through improved wayfinding design at high-traffic stations, such as Airport Link, as well as historic and picturesque stops throughout New South Wales, such as Bulli and Scarborough.

How did BrandCulture meet the challenges of designing a unified wayfinding system over such a varied set of stations and networks?

The process started by consulting with station managers as well as a diverse group of commuters, asking them how they move and make decisions: Which sign works best in this location? Are the signs visible and legible from station exits for all user groups? Is a new sign type or fixture needed to protect heritage features?

“The Station Managers and local users obviously tend to have a more intimate relationship with the stop in question,” said Julian Frood, Environmental Designer at BrandCulture. “They can be more attuned to specific user needs. Station Managers helped to identify specific risks at stops allowing us to develop new signage to help mitigate these [risks], such as the ‘users with luggage’ signage.”

And did BrandCulture help to protect the character of the historic stations?

“We identified any potential heritage implications prior to planning and worked closely with project stakeholders such as heritage consultants,” said Frood. “This ensured any strategic decisions around signage placement maintained each station’s unique aesthetic integrity whilst balancing the best possible outcomes for the commuters.”

And for the busier stations—such as Kings Cross, Newtown and Cabramatta—BrandCulture devised wayfinding strategies to move people seamlessly from one zone to another, placing signs according to zonal planning, pedestrian flow and key decision points.

“Overall, it’s one of the most complex transport wayfinding projects BrandCulture has ever been involved in,” writes Barbara Messer, Director of PR and Marketing at BrandCutlure, “and one that will leave a lasting legacy.”


Designing Down Under – Part 2
BrandCulture creates a connection to place within a new neighborhood

In the Sydney suburb of Randwick, BrandCulture developed wayfinding and interpretive signage for Newmarket, a new mixed-used commercial and residential development.

Entering the Newmarket residential and commercial development in the suburb of Randwick, east of Sydney, Australia, visitors notice interpretive designs, signs and graphics installed throughout the site.

BrandCulture, based in Sydney, joined the Newmarket project as wayfinding and interpretive consultants to create a site-wide interpretive plan for this major development.

Newmarket Randwick differentiates itself from other developments outside of Sydney because of the area’s renowned thoroughbred history. Randwick was home to some of some of Australia’s mightiest racehorses, and BrandCulture designed a system that recognizes this legacy. A thoroughbred theme and interpretive design concepts connect the local community to the new development, which is spread across 5 hectares (or 12 acres) and 642 residences.

So, how did BrandCulture specifically honor the horseracing legacy within Newmarket?

“A timeline embedded through the site includes famous horses represented by their racing colors,” said Nick Bannikoff, Design Director at BrandCulture. “Each building entrance then repeats these colors with a plaque that describes each horse’s record and significance, with the architect encouraged to reflect the pattern and/or color through the lobby design.”

“The key was coming up with an approach that retains site connectivity,” continued Bannikoff, while providing a platform for the individual creative expression of the teams.”

To do this, BrandCulture collaborated with Arcadia Landscape Architecture, the site designers, as well as the four architecture firms who designed the commercial and residential buildings: Bates Smart, Neeson Murcutt Architects, SJB Architects and Smart Design Studio.

“What really stitched the whole place together was the landscape and interpretation,” explained Bannikoff. “What [BrandCulture] had to do was work with the landscape architects to create an interpretive concept integrated into the site. We then made sure that concept could be interpreted by each architectural team to suit their own building entrances in a way that respected their architectural visions.”

The result of these collaborations is a comprehensive design plan that connects all the various structures and creates a real sense of place that recognizes the site’s history.

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