Navigate Fremantle - citywide wayfinding system

As part of the City of Fremantle Economic Development Strategy 2015 – 2020, the City is delivering a city-wide pedestrian wayfinding system in line with world’s best practice. The project is being supported by Tourism Western Australia and the State Government of Western Australia through the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program.

The project will see the design, fabrication and installation of custom designed wayfinding signage modules across Fremantle. 

What do the signs look like?

The City has undertaken extensive desktop research and worked closely with wayfinding experts to ensure a suitable balance between aesthetics and functionality. Systems that have been delivered in-line with world’s best practice including Legible London, Bristol Legible City and Adelaide Wayfinding system were assessed to see how Fremantle can develop a world class legible and useable system within its own context.

Extensive research and consultation has suggested that:

  • pedestrians look for consistency between signs from one point to the next on their journey. It creates comfort and certainty
  • using the same colour, shape and format reassures the user that they are going the right way
  • time and distance information aids journey planning and makes the decision to move between key activity nodes easier
  • delivering the right information at the right time minimises excessive information/clutter and aids legibility
  • Good signage encourages visitors to walk around the city which brings a number of economic benefits.

With this in mind Navigate Fremantle set out to achieve a system that considers the following:

  • Fremantle's unique sense of place and identity
  • function and utility
  • legibility
  • resilience of materials and ability to maintain the sign
  • ability to integrate technology
  • accessibility and inclusion
  • Future proofing and longevity.

The result has been the design of a ‘signage family’ that provides different types and sizes of signs to suit different environmental conditions.

Signage family

The signs feature heads up mapping to enable seamless user orientation and also leverage conspicuous landmarks as wayfinding tools by providing large graphical representations of them on the map. The maps also provide walking radius rings to provide users with the confidence they can explore different areas of the city with the time they have at hand. All symbology and terminology has been developed in line with international standards.

Example map

To achieve a strong connection to place whilst also maintaining legibility, accessibility and utility, the signs have been developed around a colour palette that draws on Fremantle’s unique creative milieu and it’s surrounding built form.

Colour palette

To build further on the system’s connection to place, The City has also integrated indigenous artwork into one of the largest panels on the sign which references the connection to the adjacent Swan River. The artwork is a piece by Peter Farmer titled ‘Maajit Boodja’ and has been adapted to integrate with the module’s overall design without impacting legibility or utility.

Integration of indigenous artwork into signage

Measures have also been taken to ensure that the design considers accessibility. Extensive testing around colour blindness and viewing distances played a large role in informing the final design and location of modules, including the allowance of sufficient area surrounding the signs for wheelchair access.

Examples of accessibility testing

When will it be happening? 

The year 1 roll out of signage was completed in July 2016. Year 2 signage will be completed by February 2017.

Who is involved/responsible?

The project is being delivered by the City’s economic development and marketing team in partnership with expert wayfinding consultants. Tourism Western Australia is also supporting the project through their Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Program after providing the City with grant funding to assist with the project.

Where will it take place?

The City will be installing a variety of modules throughout core activity centres located in the Fremantle CBD, North Fremantle and South Fremantle. The system intends to create a linkage between these three key destination zones. Specific locations within these areas have been determined by a team of urban design and wayfinding experts as well as through feedback from the community consultation process

Why is it important?

Key feedback from visitors in the past has indicated that current wayfinding throughout Fremantle is ineffective and not on par with a world class tourism destination.

A key outcome for this project will be to disperse visitors to additional emerging destinations offering a more diverse range of experiences and spending opportunities, allowing businesses in lesser known and outlying areas such as Wray Avenue, North/South Fremantle and the West End to better leverage Fremantle’s visitor economy.

The project will also support expected growth in residents and workers as part of Fremantle’s current $1.4 billion investment pipeline, through better directing members of the community and an increased visiting workforce to local businesses and local government services such as the Library, Leisure Centre, free WiFi hotspots and other important civic functions.

An improved way finding system will also reduce clutter and improve the urban realm creating a more attractive environment for visitors, residents and workers, and aid in attracting further investment to Fremantle.

Where can I find out more?

For further information on Navigate Fremantle, please contact the City via the contact details below.

Economic Development and Marketing 
E: edm@fremantle.wa.gov.au
T: 08 9432 9863