Brisbane Multilingual Pedestrian Signage

Honor Award 2014

One of the strategies from the Brisbane City Council’s recently commissioned report, “Brisbane’s Unique Window of Opportunity,” is to establish stronger links with the Asia Pacific economy. Part of this strategy is to provide multilingual communication to international visitors, including signage and digital guides.

To help realize these goals and reinforce Brisbane's Lifestyle City strategy, the Brisbane City Council commissioned Dotdash to create multilingual signage in the city center. Based on the target audience of short-stay international tourists and long-stay international students, messages in Korean, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Arabic were introduced on 33 new, brightly colored directional signs installed within the city center, replacing English-only signs.

Using a kit-of-parts approach, Dotdash’s design relies on simple panel-and-post components that can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit a specific location. A post can support several panels of communication for a complex location or a single panel for a location that requires only one message. A busy location with several messages becomes more visible to the user by dedicating one message per panel. The signpost can support up to eight messages in four directions. The panels are either single- or double-folded and join to the posts in a number of configurations.

The design uses the existing street-sign posts and footings by sleeving a new square stainless steel post over the existing one. The sign panels are easy to change for future additions or updates. The kit-of-parts approach to the design integrates signage elements made of recyclable stainless steel and aluminum with existing structural components. The modularity of the panels advocates for ease of rotation, and anticipates the inevitability of future change.

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Jury Comments: 

“So right for the streetscape in scale, visibility, form, and massing. Restraint is exercised to use only the space needed to carry the information. The multilingual messaging is artful.”

“Using five languages in a single signage design is not an easy task. This program accomplishes it simply and elegantly. The result is a functional, graphically nice, and easy-to-implement signage system. Besides giving directions, it also informs visitors the distance to their destination. This program gives Asian Pacific region visitors a warm feeling of the city.”

Design Firms: 



Brisbane City Council

Location City: 

Brisbane, Australia

Project Area: 

27,800,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

June 2013

Project Budget: 

80,000 AUD

Photo Credits: 

Larraine Henning/Dotdash

Design Team: 

Peter Rudledge (design lead); Mark Ross (director in charge); Domenic Nastasi, Keith Sullivan (technical designers)


Aradia Pty. Ltd. (translator)


Harlequin Signs and Plastics

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