Inclusively designed banners welcome visitors to the Eden Project

Visitors to Eden Project are welcomed by a series of rather gorgeous banners lining the walkways down from the car parks to the visitor centre. The banners were designed by the Sensory Trust's Accessible Information guru, Stuart Spurring, working with Eden Project's Director of Learning, Jo Elworthy.

The idea was to create the feel of a conversation, as close as you can achieve without a person doing it for real. Each banner has a sentence starting with "If you believe..." and leads to the next one, and on through the story of the Eden Project, what it does, who it's for, why it matters. Their success comes from a skilled combination of simplicity, powerful prose and attractive inclusive design.

Banners line Eden's entrance route and are a good example of inclusive design

Key features of the design

The design takes into account things like contrast, font size and clarity and we chose single strong images for each banner. The images show a rich mix of people and activity - pictures are a good way of conveying the idea that this is a place for everyone with a great range of things to do. They are also a great way of saying to different people 'we expected you to come'. For some disabled people this is sadly all too rare.

There were a few more subtle issues that we considered when creating and placing the signs. For instance, designed as an unfolding conversation, each banner is carefully set at a distance that corresponds with the average reading speed. The height of the main text was designed to be comfortable and easy to read for people standing or seated.

One of the more unusual barriers to access that needed to be overcome at the Eden Project was the plants. They will keep growing! The banners have been designed with a redundant image on the lower section of each one so that nothing vital will be obscured as the planting grows.

Key accessible design features

  • Not relying just on text to convey information - using pictures and symbols too
  • Legible fonts of reasonable size and with good visual contrast between text and background
  • Range of people in images reflects diversity of visitors
  • Design speed used to judge amount of content people will be able to absorb at a gentle walking pace
  • Planting designs chosen that will not cover the signage as plants grow

Links

  • Accessible information - why it matters, who benefits, links to more case studies
  • Widgit - how this pictorial symbol language helps people with learning difficulties
  • Guidance - find advice to help you plan and design accessible information

Can we help?

Sensory Trust consultancy services include designing and advising on:

  • on-site and pre-visit visitor guides, leaflets, booklets
  • maps, trail markers, signage
  • games, activities to engage the senses