The signage system for Cape Town Stadium is designed at three integrated levels; statutory signage, wayfinding signage and tactile signage. As one of the last major items in the building programme, the design, documentation and installation had to be executed within great time and budgetary constraints.
During the design process there was close collaboration between the architects, graphic designers and the disability consultant. The graphic concept was developed by Büro für Gestaltung in Germany and the implementation was done locally by Stadium Architects JV. The aim was a clear and legible signage system that did not compete with the bold simplicity of the stadium. Both the wayfinding and tactile signs were designed with white lettering, pictograms and colour zoning on a black disc. The geometry of the disc is easily recognisable as a signage unit throughout the stadium.
The building had to be accessible not only for the able-bodied spectator, but a great deal of attention was given to also make the stadium accessible for visually impaired spectators. The unique tactile sign age developed in collaboration with the disability consultant is a first in South Africa and possibly the world. The signs consist of a small-diameter black disc with white embossed pictograms and lettering that enable the visually impaired spectator to touch and feel the sign. These are not braille signs, but an exact replica of the larger-scale wayfinding signs. On the two main concourse levels full-colour tactile location maps were installed, with raised wording and pictograms for the use by both disabled and able-bodied spectators. The maps are printed three-dimensionally onto an aluminium base plate, using a printing process that was developed specifically for the Cape Town Stadium. From the outset the aim was to use pictograms rather than words, for universal legibility. Where wording was unavoidable, English, Afrikaans and Xhosa appear in tandem alongside pictograms. The design and placement was in a constant state of flux right up to the end.
Dry runs were useful to test the system and iron out problems before the World Cup event. At final count a total of 18 027 signs were installed at a density of 1,2 per square metre of this gigantic structure. However, the signage is discreet but always there when you need a polite nudge in the right direction.
This essay was extracted from the book Cape Town Stadium: Between the Lines, published by Griffel Media@ 2010.