University of Rostock

Wayfinding System

Rich tradition and a spirit of innovation are trademarks of the University of Rostock. As one of the oldest universities in the world, it has a well-earned reputation as a centre of higher education in the Baltic Sea region. But the wayfinding round the historic campus in the city centre had become a bit worn and dated when they approached us, in 2013, for a design scheme to make directions throughout the site both universally accessible and user-friendly.

Before our renovations, and the provision of a new interior layout for the listed building, students and visitors, with or without disabilities, had a hard time finding their way around the university’s headquarters. A maze of corridors, passageways, staircases, and lifts turned any attempt to arrive on time for a seminar, or even to locate a particular room into a major challenge.

A pioneering solution was needed, one that would blend in with the historic buildings, recently revealed in all their original beauty, with a restored colour scheme.

Naturally, it was particularly important for our clients that the signposting should not stick out like a sore thumb. We came up with neat and elegant solution.

Our collaboration with a sign maker produced a revolutionary, cost-effective way of making a series of touch-friendly plastic moulds and reliefs. Signs and display stands prioritise detailed information using these elements. Eye-catching icons and Braille displays in prominent positions make university life easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

An exterior view of the main building of Rostock University with a view of the main entrance. It is a magnificent building in the style of the Mecklenburg Neo-Renaissance. In the foreground is a meadow. Trees with green crowns slightly obscure the view of the building.
A close-up of a signpost of the guidance system. You can see a white number "1" in a golden circle on a black background. This is the indication of the floor you are on.
A photo from the working process. A two-dimensional printout of the tactile floor plan lies on the raised final product of the tactile plan.
A photo from a frog's-eye view of the staircase of the right wing of the university. Cut in the centre of the picture is a display of the guidance system.
Photo of a display stand on the second floor. The display includes a tactile floor overview and a graphic of the individual building sections. It stands in the middle of two cream-colored stone columns. The building's stairwell is visible in the background.
Representation of the color orange defined for orientation purposes.
Close-up of a threshold print of the floor overview. This was made in the process to test the heights and sizes of the individual elements of the tactile floor overview.
Close-up of a tactile handrail lettering with Braille and profile lettering. The finger of a person feels the Braille lettering.
Representation of the color medium blue defined for orientation purposes.
A close-up of the raised lift pictogram on the tactile floor map
A tactile floor overview in vertical position. A person uses a finger to feel the braille lettering indicating the location.
Detailed view of a threshold print of the tactile floor overview. The viewpoint with the corresponding Braille lettering and the wheelchair pictogram can be seen.
Representation of the color light green defined for orientation purposes.
Detailed view of the overview diagram of the individual building sections. In focus is the courtyard extension, which is marked in red.

Signposting in Space

A view into the entrance area of the University of Rostock. In the background of the picture, the staircase leading to the first floor, with a few people in motion out of focus. On the right you can see a black stand with light-coloured lettering, an element of the signposting system for the University of Rostock.
A display stand, part of the wayfinding system, photographed in the bleed. Information is printed on a black background in white and yellow lettering. In the background, a hallway of the university and another element of the guidance system are out of focus.
The image of a display of the guidance system on the right side of the picture in section. On it the information about the floor and the rooms. On the left in the picture the magnificently decorated staircase of the middle building.

Graphic Concept

Auf einem iPad werden verschiedene weiße Piktogramme auf schwarzem Untergrund gezeigt. Es handelt sich um die Piktogramme zur Kennzeichnung des Fahrstuhls, der Damen- und Herren-Toiletten sowie der barrierefreien Toiletten, die mit einem Rollstuhlfahrer kenntlich gemacht werden. Vom I-Pad leicht verdeckt werden Skizzen zum Rollstuhlfahrer-Piktogramm.
A graphic view of the individual signs of the guidance system. To estimate the dimensions of the elements, there are silhouettes of a standing figure and a wheelchair user
Eine Übersichtsgrafik der einzelnen Gebäudeabschnitte der Universität. Der Hintergrund ist schwarz. Jeder Bereich ist mit einer eigenen leuchtenden Farbe gekennzeichnet. Eine Schriftebene gibt den Namen der Bereiche an und die Nummern der sich dort befindenden Räume.

Inclusion in Use

Two pictures side by side. On the left picture a shot from the staircase. In focus the wooden handrail with tactile handrail labeling. In the background, out of focus, a young woman with long hair climbing the stairs. On the right picture a floor overview in the crop on the right
Two pictures side by side. On the left picture a shot from the staircase. In focus the wooden handrail with tactile handrail labeling. In the background, out of focus, a young woman with long hair climbing the stairs. On the right picture a floor overview in the crop on the right
A detailed view of the tactile floor overview. Two hands feel the braille lettering indicating the person's location.

Project Details

Project Scope: Analysis of orientation needs, conception of wayfinding system, conception of barrier-free elements (2-sense principle), development of tactile printing processes in cooperation with manufacturer, layout and graphic design, production management