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Smith UK Ltd
Ideas Factory NUA,
Cavendish House,
St Andrews Hill, Norwich, NR2 4SN



Smith work with Gt Ormond St Hospital on ward graphics and signage project

Smith have delivered ward and environment graphics for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s new Morgan Stanley Clinical Building (MSCB).

On their work, Jo Trussler said of Smith: “..The Redevelopment team at GOSH have found Smith to be completely dedicated to delivering a product that met our requirements from everyone's perspective but especially children and families and to a high standard. The team have been a pleasure to work with; it has been very much a working relationship based on mutual respect.”

Throughout the MSCB there are specially commissioned, high quality and innovative artworks and design features which provide welcome distraction and help to navigate families quickly and easily around such a large hospital. Naming the wards and finding interesting ways to point people in the right direction have been a central part of the redevelopment. This is a process known as ‘wayfinding’.

In 2008 Landor – the global branding agency - created the strategy for wayfinding at GOSH based on the natural world. Each floor of the new building takes on a habitat, from ‘living in the seas and oceans’ (Walrus daycare, level 1) to ‘living in the sky’ (Eagle ward, level 7). In all Landor came up with five creature designs for the first phase of the redevelopment, Walrus, Bear, Koala, Flamingo and Eagle.

Smith’s commission was to provide the graphic element for Landor’s strategy, in essence to take the characters they created and bring the characters to life through ward signs and icons and throughout the new wards by introducing new characters, creating environments and and other Illustrative elements to enhance the therapeutic environment and ultimately aid recovery. A brand new character and its environment, Squirrel, was also created for use outside of the MSCB.

It is becoming increasingly recognised that art and design play an important role in healing. The ultimate objective here was to create more child and family friendly surroundings through a relaxed, interesting and interactive environment and, in doing this, contribute to the identity of the new building and assist in creating a positive and supportive sense of place for patients, families, visitors and staff.

In total Smith have delivered graphics for six ward environments for Squirrel, Walrus, Bear, Koala, Flamingo and Eagle.

Adrian Kimpton, Director at Smith says: Patients are often fearful and confused and these feelings may impede recovery; a parents sense of competence can be enhanced by making spaces easy to identify and find without asking for help, and a more welcoming environment will also contribute to better staff morale. It is our job to help make a hospital stay or visit as unthreatening, comfortable and stress-free as possible.