Lucy Richards and her team at StudioLR work creatively to tackle society’s big challenges, and to make every day experiences better for people from all walks of life. In 2014 the team identified a lack of effective signage in dementia care environments and initiated a design study, using a combination of academic research and insights from people living with dementia, to develop signage that was both effective and attractive. The outcomes is a signage design principle which is proving very effective at increasing independence for people with dementia in both care environments and public places.
Inspired by the success of this, and with an award of funding from Life Changes Trust, StudioLR undertook a similar review with a particular focus on 15 common ‘symbols’ that appear on everyday signs. This research project explored the feasibility of developing a new inclusive set of symbols to assist people living with dementia as they go about their everyday lives. The feasibility phase demonstrated an inconsistency in response across a number of focus groups, evidencing a need for symbols to be redesigned. As a consequence, further funding from Life Changes Trust was secured in 2017 to design and evaluate a new, effective set of symbols for people with dementia. The design development has been phased with testing by individuals and groups of people living with dementia across the UK. Enthusiasm is evident from participants to feedback their views and evaluate the legibility and understanding of something ‘practical’ rather than policy-based - a form of visual communication that will impact positively on people’s everyday life. The feedback is proving essential to each phase of design development. The new set of inclusive symbols will be more effective for everyone right across society, in all public places – clear, easy to understand and relevant to people’s everyday lives.