About This Project

Cheshire East Council issued a tender for a new wayfinding strategy in Crewe, which we were delighted to be awarded.  For this project there was already quite extensive materials available including the 2020 Crewe brand guidelines, the 2018 Crewe public realm strategy and the 2022 Crewe active travel corridor design code.   We worked with key stakeholders to identify the emerging characteristics from these resources and combine them with our wayfinding experience to develop a basemap and DSP (Design Specification Pack) which would enable them to procure the wayfinding.

Crewe is a relatively recent development, while there is a reference to it in the Domesday Book it remained a small town until the Grand Junction Railway came though in 1837.  The population expanded rapidly to reach 40,000 by 1871 and the current population is around 77,000.  Railways and engineering are still a significant factor in Crewe’s economy with Bentley and BAE Systems operating as well as lighting industry.

The railway has had a profound effect on the layout of Crewe which became apparent as we walked the routes, it divides the town east/west and two lines branch off NE and NW with comparatively few crossing points making navigation challenging owing to the lack of landmarks and the distance between the station and the town centre.

Using existing palettes we developed a package including a wayfinding family and unique map.  The wayfinding nods subtly to the rail heritage with its side rails and exposed fixings without being overtly heritage – we were very conscious that Crewe is a living breathing town looking to the future, not a museum of past glories.

The wayfinding strategy went through a series of discovery meetings where we defined ‘what makes Crewe Crewe-ish’, then concept designs finally worked up into the DSP ready for implementation.  In fact we were thrilled to be asked to do the implementation too and it’s well under-way – more on this later!

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Creating Unforgettable Places

Wayfinding, Furniture & Lighting Catalogue Issue 46

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