Menu Close

Category / News

Finding your way around Scotland’s first dementia-friendly park

At StudioLR, We’ve been designing wayfinding signage to help people living with dementia live more independently.

[7 Minute Read]

With features such as dementia-friendly signs, handrails and benches, Kings Park in Stirling recently launched as Scotland’s first dementia-friendly park. Led by National walking charity, Paths for All, we were asked to design signs which would help people living with dementia navigate the park more easily on their own.


“This project was an important step for us in working towards our aim of driving improvements in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of people living with dementia in Scotland.”

– Dr Corinne Greasley Adams, development officer for Paths for All


Paths for All came to us after hearing about our successful initiative to design signs that will help people with dementia find their way around care homes.

Aligning with our company belief that great design improves people’s everyday lives, we wanted to make a difference to people living with dementia through empowering signage design.

Working with our academic partners (Edinburgh University and Stirling University) we challenged the signage typically used in care environments. Using an academic approach gave us confidence that our assessment was accurate. And our recommendations would have the intended level of positive impact.

Easy wayfinding would improve the wellbeing of people with dementia (potentially extending their life) and also reduce the strain and cost on their families and on societal care resources.

We realised our findings could easily be transferred to other public spaces, like Kings Park, providing an even greater opportunity for extended independent living.

Read more about the dementia-friendly Kings Park project in the Scotsman article here.


To find out more about what we’re doing at StudioLR to make the world an easier place to find your way around then read about our latest Inclusive Symbols project.

TEDx Glasgow 2018

[2 minute read]

At the Nods Awards, we’d just won the Grand Prix when Dave’s name popped on screen. The lucky blighter had also won the raffle: two tickets to TEDx. A day of inspiring talks and demo labs in Glasgow.

So last Friday we set off together on a sun-filled early train, full of anticipation.

At the door of the Armadillo we were met with huge smiles and welcoming waves; handed our ‘Ideas Worth Doing’ notepads; and entertained by a jazz trio playing Stevie Wonder. This was a good start. Not like any other conference (or even ‘unconference’) we’d been to before.

We jostled amongst the 2,000 attendees for a free seat in the main auditorium, ears and eyes open and ready for 9 hours of stimulation.

First up on stage was Van Ives – not a speaker, a band. Two guys playing an engrossing fusion of electronica, R&B and folk. It felt like we were in the TED trance, under the spell already at 9am.

The rest of the day developed into an intensive blur (is that possible?) of inspiration, agitation, thought provocation, humour and arrest. From astrophysics to gluten free baking, robotics to tax avoidance, the perils of fame to the power of hope.

Standout (stand ups) for us were Darren McGarvey, Karen Dunbar, Adam Kashmiry, and Shona McCarthy. Here are three wee thoughts that have stuck with us over the week…

1. Expertise is nothing without the input of non-experts.
Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, recalled sharing the good news with the world that the UK’s economy was growing again. The people hadn’t noticed. It turned out the only upturn in the entire UK was in London and the South East. If the economy is to benefit the public, a percentage on a spreadsheet isn’t a good enough measure of success. He was talking about ‘harnessing people’s lived experiences’ and we couldn’t help noticing he was sounding more like a good designer than an economist. A great approach!

2. Base change on truth. Brutal, honest truth.
Jean MacAskill Kerr, Leadership and Team Intelligence Consultant at Cisco, talked about how often we change the wrong things because we haven’t dug deep enough and had the awkward, honest conversations. It’s hard to open up and be brutally honest (especially at work) but if you base change on truth you can’t go wrong.

3. Heartstorming not brainstorming. Lifelines not deadlines.
Miha Pogacnik, violinist, leadership speaker and huge ball of energy, put a great spin on the idea of ‘business supporting the arts’. He argued that the arts are now supporting business more. Businesses are getting into the emotion of communication, the purpose that drives their passion – the arts have been doing that for centuries. You can’t give less than 100% when you’re playing Beethoven.

It was a fantastic day, topped off with the news that Edinburgh has secured next year’s TEDGlobal event. See you there.

D-Day: A story we can’t stop telling


‘Best piece of #branding I’ve seen for ages. Can feel the story and history.’ @CatherineAnnR


You might have seen our brand identity and advertising campaign for the new D-Day Story popping up across Portsmouth, on the London Underground, on Twitter, and in Design Week.

Located in Portsmouth, the museum tells the story of the Allied forces’ invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War, which led to the liberation of large parts of Europe from Nazi control – and ultimately Allied victory.

We worked with Portsmouth City Council to give the museum a new destination brand and marketing aimed at moving expectations away from a strictly ‘military’ brand, to one which appeals to all generations.

Our Associate, brand strategist Scott Sherrard spoke with everyone from veterans to volunteers, and councillors to students, to find out what the D-Day Story meant to them. The resulting brand is built on juxtaposition: The epic made personal, the personal made epic.

The D-Day operation was so huge that no one person could ever comprehend every facet of it – but we sought to make it personal.

There’s an intimacy to the impact that D-Day had on so many individuals – we sought to shine a light on that and make it epic.

The brand uses archived photography and diary entries to get a real perspective.

Marketing and advertising designed to stand out from the crowd.

Tackling big issues: needs to learn

[4 minute read]

As designers we’re ambitious to tackle society’s big challenges – that’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. So when we were asked to design an accessible website aimed at 12-15 year old children with additional support needs, we jumped at the chance to work on a project that will really make a difference.

Living with additional support needs means that school can be a real struggle for children without the proper support. These children and their parents or carers may be feeling worried, frustrated or confused about getting the right education to suit their needs. They’re looking for help, and there’s a chance that they have felt let down before and have come to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal as a last resort.

Our aim was to develop a communication channel that would instill a sense of empowerment for its audience and feel like a helping hand. Something that is welcoming, informally informative, and is easily understood. And something that helps in getting all children the education they are entitled to.


The design of the site was led by the people that would be using the site. The colours, fonts and layout were all chosen based on research and knowledge of accessibility for web, for people with support needs, and in particular children with Autism. The site was then user tested and assessed for ease of use and general understanding.”

– Kimberly Carpenter, Senior Digital Designer


We started off by considering a new, original name for the service to replace Additional Support Needs as part of the Health and Education Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland – which we didn’t feel was accessible!

So, we developed the name needs to learn to capture both ASN [needs] and education [to learn].

The name works well when we talk about putting children at the heart of the judiciary service: All children in Scotland should benefit from a school education. When this isn’t happening we look at each child’s individual circumstances and their unique needs to learn.

 And also when we talk about the child:

We look at Jamie’s unique and individual needs to learn to make sure that he benefits from school education.

To build on the power of needs to learn, we developed a new visual language to help with signposting the user to navigate through the information provided. We created a carefully considered colour palette, soft shapes, an engaging illustration style that would appeal to the age group, accessible language and a font that was highly legible on screen. The content was edited down to short blocks of text and bullets points so that information could be easily read and digested by the viewer. There’s also a section on the site titled ‘word meanings’ to explain the meanings of tricky words, especially legal terms that are hard for all of us to make sense of.

As we developed the website design we wanted to ensure the navigation was simple and clear, and it provided plenty of reassurance. The landing page asks:

Are you in the right place?

If you’re 12 to 15, have additional support needs and want to make a change to your school education, then yes you are.

We created a prototype, using Invision, and conducted user testing with a group of 12-15 year olds with additional support needs. We observed their interaction with the site, including ease of use, and asked them what they generally thought of the site. Their feedback played an important role in the final development stages of the website.

Since the site launched, feedback from users is very positive. All children are entitled to, and deserve an education, and if needs to learn helps their education needs to be met then we’re proud to have played a small part to achieve that.


Unsurprisingly children with additional support needs need additional support. That includes the way we communicate with them, not just visually but also understanding that their cognitive functions work differently. The design thinking and execution had to take all this into account when creating something of real value to them.” 

– Mark Wheeler, Design Director


 

The brand experience at Terex Trucks gets the Big Nod (the grand prix)

“Creativity for an audience in a place where you wouldn’t normally expect to find creativity” – Mt RAINEY, chair

Last week, we were over the moon to be standing on the stage at the Nods Awards in Glasgow to be picking up two awards for the Terex Trucks brand experience.

Including:

  • Best Brand Experience
  • The Big Nod (grand prix)

Here’s Nic and Dave picking up the Big Nod (sponsored by Jura) from Muriel Gray:

About the winning work:

Nicola Laurie: Young Designer of the Year nominee

We’re very proud to announce that our youngest team member Nicola Laurie has been nominated for Young Designer of the Year in the The Drum’s Design Awards, entered globally.

A FEW Words about Nicola:

It’s easy to be fooled by her youthful appearance; StudioLR designer Nicola Laurie has the confidence and wisdom of a designer who’d far outweigh her in design-years.

In little over a year since joining us after graduation, Nicola (Nic) has gone from strength to strength. Her systematic approach brings complex ideas and source materials together in a clear and concise way – demonstrating a rare maturity. As a result, she was promoted from junior designer to designer in a very short time. She has been instrumental in a wide range StudioLR’s highest profile projects, including the branding of the D-Day Story, museum now open. Nic also played an important role in rebranding Investors in People Scotland to Remarkable. And the design of an identity and visitor experience of the new Playful Garden at Brodie Castle for the National Trust for Scotland.

Nic is already confidently taking the lead and managing projects. Most notably in developing the brand and packaging for a new premium drinks product. The client commented: “I can safely say I could not have asked for a better start to the branding journey. It is GENIUS”.

Nic was also our main designer on the global event launch of a new industrial vehicle for Volvo which took place in April. It was a resounding success with Volvo and their customers, her brave ideas and impressive brand understanding made this a Volvo event to remember.

To top it all off, Nic is a creative idea powerhouse in the studio she churns out diverse creative ideas with enviable ease. No doubt she is one to keep an eye on.

Inverewe: great experiences get great results

[7 minute read]

We’ve got some great news! We’ve been shortlisted for a WON a Gold Marketing Society Star Award in the Design category [UPDATED].

The Star Awards focus on projects which deliver measurable results to clients. Our shortlisted Inverewe project for the National Trust for Scotland is a wonderful success story that we’re delighted to share with you.

Here are a few snippets from our submission:

Inverewe Garden in Wester Ross is an award-winning, world class garden. But a world class garden no longer guarantees an audience.

The National Trust for Scotland took the decision to open Inverewe House to the public – for the first time in its history.

We worked with them to unlock the vibrant eccentricity of the garden’s founder Osgood Mackenzie – developing an identity and visitor experience to attract a new generation of visitors.

Launched in 2016, the work was evaluated throughout 2017.

Ambition:

Create an experience of marvel for all ages. A day of inspiration and wonder that leaves visitors with a sense of admiration for the place and its creator. Departing without doubt that they’ve been immersed in something special. Something worth sharing.

Key Objectives:

  • Increase visitor numbers and spend
  • Attract a much wider demographic – families, younger couples, non-enthusiasts
  • Maximise visitor experience, enjoyment, interaction and learning
  • Promote community engagement and involvement
  • Tell the story of the garden’s creator Osgood, his daughter Mairi Sawyer, and the house and garden
  • Conserve and respect the integrity of the place
  • Bring key stakeholders on the journey, involving them in the process

We created a vibrant identity with colours inspired by the garden’s plants, eccentric typography inspired by Victorian Circus posters, and playful language that draws poetry from botany.

We then brought the identity to life across the site and throughout the house. Packed full of multi-sensory and interactive elements, there’s a surprise in every nook-and-cranny. From sculptures made of gardening utensils to a recipe printed on the kitchen ceiling; from the giant tea pot outside the café to the tiny drawings on the dining room plates; from the gun-room ring toss to the phone that rings when you walk past (go on pick it up)… There’s something for everyone to discover for themselves, and we guarantee you won’t spot it all in one visit!

The re-invigorated Inverewe has gone from strength to strength.

We have evaluated impact across:

  • social media posts (Twitter, Instagram & Facebook)
  • online reviews (TripAdvisor, Google & Facebook)
  • media coverage & political response
  • visitor book feedback
  • staff feedback
  • visitor numbers

A few examples:

Press:

Online/social:

Many glowing reviews with an overall rating of 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor & Google, 4.7 stars on Facebook.

Get in touch to find out how you can

Up for a challenge

[2min read]

January is a good time to reflect on the year gone by.
Here are a few of our favourite challenges from 2017…

Taking a well-known brand, shaking it up and making it remarkable

Investors In People Scotland came to us as a well-known brand looking to breakout of the preconceptions that prevented them from reaching the clients they really wanted to reach. We helped develop a brand strategy that ultimately led them to take the brave decision to wipe the slate clean and rebrand as Remarkable. It wasn’t going to be easy. To get from concept to launch, collaboration was key – it took an ambitious client and a strong team of designers, strategists and marketeers working together to achieve this.

Attracting families to a visitor attraction that has a playful story to share

Changing the visitor demographic of an attraction is no light-hearted challenge. This is exactly what Brodie Castle is setting out to do with the introduction of the Playful Garden, which is expected to be a big hit with families when it opens in the Spring of 2018. We’re working with National Trust for Scotland to bring the unique stories of over 400 daffodil varieties into a bright visual identity that adds unbound playfulness to the Brodie experience.

Turning good design into design for good

We believe that good design can change the world. We’ve worked with a number of clients to use design as a way of rallying people to a cause, changing behaviour, or improving public services. In 2017 we received funding from the Life Changes Trust to re-design and evaluate everyday symbols for people living with dementia (The Life Changes Trust is funded by the Big Lottery Fund). It’s an ambitious project that aims to enable people with dementia to live an independent life for longer.

Read more at: #InclusiveSymbols

This year we’re aiming to spark something in people.
Why not send us your challenges for 2018?

Lucy appointed to the Education Design Council’s Expert Panel

In January 2018 Lucy was appointed by SBID (The Society of British and International Design) to the Education Design Council expert panel.

The Society of British and International Design is the UK-based standard bearer organisation for the accreditation of professional interior designers, product suppliers and educational institutions. 

The Education Design Council seeks to put effective design at the core of the learning process and show how evidence-based design decisions can transform the learning experience for everyone. The council consists of experts across the sector of the industry.

Inclusive symbols: end of year update

As we move to the end of the year our #InclusiveSymbols project is progressing quickly.

We’ve now completed three concept workshops reviewing around 15 everyday symbols, and we’ve started the exciting (and daunting) challenge of redesigning them to be clear and understood by people with dementia.

In a room of creatives, and members of our wider team, each symbol was discussed in detail for 10-15 mins. This included reviewing our scoping exercise to compare variations on each symbol, comments from the focus groups we held with people with dementia, and generating sketch concept ideas for a new version.

Workshop 1 (16th November) we reviewed:

  • Exit
  • Fire exit
  • Stairs
  • Elevator
  • Escalator

Workshop 2 (30th November) we reviewed:

  • Parking
  • Ticket purchase
  • Waiting room
  • Priority Seating
  • Toilet

Workshop 3 (12th December) we reviewed:

  • Information
  • Wheelchair access
  • ‘No’ symbol (i.e. no parking)
  • Hidden disability
  • Communication difficulty

What did we learn from the workshops?

His head looks like it’s falling off!

The detached head on the current ‘symbol man and woman’ is used consistently across all variations. It’s really odd, and potentially confusing for those with dementia.

 

It’s easy enough to design a toilet symbol as it has a physical form. How could we represent ‘giving information’?

Some symbols are easier to review than others. Symbols such as information or exit are challenging to distil into a simple visual idea. It is also interesting to consider the longevity of our interpretations (particularly for symbols impacted by digital technologies such as tickets).

 

Should we design this in 3D or 2D?

3D symbols are more readily understood but needs some consideration around clarity and simplicity. We need to be careful not to include too much detail in a 3D representation, further complicated by the introduction of a person to reinforce an action.

 

Blobby-humans or human-humans

Our 2D vs 3D conversation sparked some debate around the representation of people in symbology. Understanding that more detail often leads to more questions and literal interpretation from those living with dementia, our initials sketches show a person represented in a solid ‘blobby’ gender-neutral form, enhanced with more realistic body shapes and features.

 

Will using an arrow help make this symbol clearer?

The symbols are used to trigger an action and to help with wayfinding. We discussed including arrows within the symbol (i.e. arrow for exiting a door) but decided this could be confusing for literal interpretations. An arrow within a symbol supported by a directional arrow on the same sign could really confuse people!

 

P is for parking

We’re interested to find that the blue P represents parking internationally, regardless of each country’s alphabet or language. We’re recognising how valuable the review of language and the words we use will be to supporting each of the symbols.

 

Communication difficulty

After lengthy discussion we agreed that this symbol is too challenging to design without the benefit of feedback from the focus group on current versions (this symbol came into play recently and so it wasn’t included in the research project). We decided not to attempt a redesign of this one as part of this project but perhaps in the future, if we were armed with relevant research.


What’s next?

Moving in 2018, we’ll be completing the first concept design options of the new symbols in January. These will then be evaluated by living with dementia people from across the UK, facilitated by our research partner in February.

Newer Posts
Older Posts