The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance. Learn how we worked with senior management to help them reopen their 150-acre site sensibly and safely for visitors to enjoy once again.
On 23rd March 2020, the Arboretum closed its doors to visitors due to the pandemic unfolding across the UK. A spiritually uplifting place which remembers lives lost and celebrates lives lived, this was devastating news for guests, staff and volunteers.
During this time, the Arboretum continued to share stories, updates and family activities across all of their social media platforms. The goal, however, (when legislation and safety allowed) was to reopen so guests would be able to visit the spectacular grounds and poignant memorials once again in person. This time came on Monday 8th June 2020, 11 weeks after the decision to close.
In the week leading up to this, we worked closely with senior management at the Arboretum to help them prepare for a safe reopening.
We held a number of in-depth discussions with senior staff and visited the site to identify how we could move guests through the Arboretum safely and with complete adherence to new safety guidelines from the UK Government. We looked at the approach and car park, point of guest entry, important and heavily used facilities such as toilets, and the overall movement of individuals and families across the 150-acre site.
After thoughtfully devising a wayfinding plan, Brand Jam was asked to create a suite of branded communication materials that staff can use within the Remembrance Centre and across the whole site. Rather than opting for off-the-shelf solutions, staff opted for fully branded and bespoke signage and posters. This was so they could communicate important safety messages with confidence and authority whilst giving reassurance that safety for guests, volunteers and staff was paramount.
With a tight turnaround time, we consulted on, designed, project managed and part installed the following:
Retail area decals
Crowd barrier banners
One way route signage throughout the site
Fundraising signage – Memories of Yesterday shape our tomorrow
Accompanying posters for high traffic areas
Designing signage at this time was a challenge due to ever-evolving government guidelines that changed daily. It was imperative that we put ourselves in the hearts and minds of guests. We moved through the Arboretum as they would to purposefully find a system that worked. We also wanted to ensure our bespoke solution gave clear instructions while offering the usual familiarity. To complete the project, we asked Hardy Signs, a local signage company and trusted partner to manufacture and help with installation.
The results are a unique and special suite of signage and wayfinding communications. Essentially, the signage acts as a visual tool that will help visitors get the best experience of the Arboretum at this time in the safest and most carefully planned manner.