University of Reading Library signage and wayfinding

Over a period of five years, and now into its third phase, we have worked together with the project architects and interior designers to sensitively introduce graphic elements to complement the 1960s library building’s interior features.

Phase 1 – manifestation and wall graphics.

We studied the building fabric for inspiration, identifying a ceiling rose detail that we developed into a motif which would form the basis for glazing manifestations and wall coverings. On the fifth floor we differentiated, and reiterated, it’s use for silent study by referencing the buildings use as a library. We used literature extracts and quotations relating to learning and silence, these were applied across wall coverings and glazing manifestations.

Phase 2 – improving wayfinding in the primary stair wells and lift lobbies.

Following the method set out in phase 1 of minimal intervention we introduced simple, large scale floor numbers and department titles, to enable people arriving at each landing to orientate themselves. Information plans, directories and notices were organised into discreet areas to keep a sense of order and tidiness.

Phase 3 – extending the work from the previous two phases across the entire building, including exterior additions.

Phase three carries on from where phase two left off – extending the graphic elements to the remaining three floors, of the building’s five floors, requiring refurbishment. The café, reception desk area, help desks and print hubs, and staff areas have each had elements introduced to carry on the look and colour palette of the previously refurbished areas. A variation on the graphic motif, used throughout the library’s common areas, has been developed for the staff areas, this provides differentiation of the two spaces. Externally, bronze panels fret cut with the same variation on the octagon motif clad sections of the building.