Culture Mile for the city of london Vinyl Signs for Public Realm Improvements
‘Culture Mile’ encapsulates a quarter of creativity in London stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate. It’s landmarked by organisations such as the City of London Corporation, the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London.
Naturally the area is a hive of arts heritage events that deliver economic growth and social mobility for the city, and by officially christening it, the City of London aspires to bring a sense of permanence to that vibrancy. As such, an integral part of the Culture Mile initiative was to create a lifestyle for locals, which began with delivering brick & mortar projects to address community needs (such as the Moor Lane Community Garden) and continued by providing public realm improvements.
That’s where Glyphics came in. The City of London called upon us to help establish a stronger visual identity, so we set about making signage that amplified the artistry embedded within the area, while communicating effectively with graphics to tie the district together.
When the City of London brought Glyphics on board to help the Culture Mile brand physically manifest itself, we were delighted to be their pick of sign makers local to both East London and the City.
Their brief entailed improving the environmental design of Culture Mile’s pillar organisations. In practical terms, this meant creating bespoke vinyls for the windows, planters and bollards surrounding their buildings, as well as replacing panels in the Beech Street tunnel and on the lift on Moor Lane.
First up, we walked the Culture Mile ourselves; computing, quantifying and deciding how to best to hone a more welcoming habitat for residents, visitors, and workers returning to the City after the pandemic. Where would the signs be most seen? What size did they need to be? What type of vinyl would work best where?
As we gathered the answers to these questions, it became apparent that the scope of the project would pose an obstacle in carving out a solid timeline, because we had to consider working across multiple sites and on an assortment of surfaces, while creating true colour, customised and quality signs that would stand up to the elements. As such, we decided to carry out the installation in phases to allow us to react, and took the initiative to bring on board an additional team of installers to help speed up the process when needed.
It transpired that the bollards presented a particularly relishing challenge – being both hexagonal in shape and tapering to a narrow neck the further up they went. It took multiple tests to get the vinyl right for them, and a lot of back and forth with the designer to tweak the end product, making certain it was finished to a meticulous standard suitable for the historic central business district. In the end we wrapped them in vehicle grade vinyl which requires using a heat gun. As anticipated, that meant we had to be flexible with the schedule and liaise across channels to reorganise when the inevitable rainy days hit.
Creatively speaking, our collaboration with Richard Wolfstrome, the client’s designer, who had repurposed the Culture Mile logo into bold and bright artwork, allowed us to put the fun in functional – applying abstract forms to everything from window advertising made out of perforated film, to cut vinyl planter graphics.
Once we had an idea of the measurements and materials, we set about using his pattern to cut through the brutalist architecture prominent across the district. The resulting signs improve civic wayfinding and deliver aesthetic enhancements to the streets, raising awareness of the Culture Mile initiative while forming positive associations to it throughout the area.