Legible London, the wayfinding system designed by Applied Information Group to help make London a world-class walking city, has won a top honour award at the Society of Environmental Graphic Design Design Awards.
The award win suggests that Legible London could provide a model for wayfinding in other world capitals and shows what can be achieved with the close collaboration of designers, city transport authorities and city administrative bodies. AIG partner Tim Fendley collected the award at a ceremony in Washington DC on June 3, 2010.
The Legible London system comprises street signs, information at bus stops and Underground arrival points, along with printed maps with digital and mobile media planned for the future. The scheme was launched in November 2007 in London's West End, with a prototype of signs designed with AIG's product design partners Lacock Gullam. Since then, the scheme has been extended widely across central London and local pilots are being run in three major London areas, with AIG in a supervisory role.
AIG formed the idea for Legible London as part of a Central London Partnership project funded by Transport for London (TfL). The original study identified the considerable benefits of walking in the capital: healthier individuals, greater footfall for retail and leisure, environmental benefits, safety for the community and the alleviation of pressure on other transport systems.
Evaluation research, probably the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, indicated after one year that the prototype had reduced journey times in the area by 16%, and that 85% of people thought it was easy to use and 90% thought it should be rolled out across the capital. The scheme also reduced street clutter as duplicate information and unnecessary signs were removed.
Talking about the award, Tim Fendley of AIG and lead designer for Legible London said, "The fact that Legible London clearly had resonance with SEGD's international jurors supports our belief that the principles of walking cities have the potential for global application. Solving the challenges of wayfinding in any capital city is a complex problem of human habit, contradictory information design, varied stakeholder agendas and a constantly evolving map, both physical, economic and social. By responding to these challenges in London we have pushed the boundaries of information design to produce innovative solutions and ground-breaking ideas. We believe these principles can be adapted and applied anywhere in the world."