Olympic Stadium

From the moment the London 2012 Games starts – with 80,000 people in the main stadium, and an expected one billion people watching on TV – there will be a global interest in this key venue. But once the games are over, the main stadium is here to stay. When we started to work on the wayfinding and signage, we knew it would need to work equally well both during and after the games. It would be important to create a timeless, enduring system that still subtly referred to summer 2012.

We found a palette of striking architectural elements in the monochrome structure, steel beams, and concrete pillars. We were excited by the possibilities offered by the coloured glazing, which runs through the whole spectrum as it circles the building. We set ourselves the challenge of bringing colour to the signage in a way that responded to this, without contradicting the strict black and white colour scheme of the wayfinding information.

We did this by using signs with a C shaped cross-section, referencing the structural beams. The face of the sign contains black and white information, while the inside refers to the local colour of the glazing. On the edge of the sign is a shard pattern detail that echoes the visual style of the games: specific for 2012, but not overpowering for afterwards.

Outside the stadium, 4.2 metre totems combine steel and concrete, light and shadow, to create impressive beacons, highly visible among thronging crowds, yet harmonious with the stadium. Other signs fit perfectly into place – the concrete columns on the inner concourse providing a canvas for large, functional block numbers. Giant male and female pictograms were positioned on the roofs of the toilet pods, assisting with the identification of toilets by spectators exiting the upper tier.

The stadium’s signage is materially varied and sophisticated; the system as a whole is a coherent totality, unified by the simplicity of the black and white information and its pleasing usability.