Finding The Bloomsbury Group in Sussex

The Charleston Trust

The client

A former farmhouse, Charleston was the Sussex home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant – key members of the infamous Bloomsbury Group of writers and artists.

Our client, The Charleston Trust, is a charity which exists to restore and maintain Charleston.

The brief

The existing external wayfinding signage was a mixture of styles, reflecting the haphazard approach taken over the years. There was a disconnect between the permanent signage and the temporary festival signage, and there was no sense of entrance off the main road.

We were asked to bring cohesion to the wayfinding signage, from the road turn-off, along the track, through the car park and up to the house; to unify, de-clutter and simply.

What we delivered

The overarching principal we bore in mind was to navigate visitors and make sure they knew they were approaching Charleston, but without giving too much away; it was important for the house and grounds to do the talking themselves.

Tempted as we were to borrow from the multitude of artistic elements of the house’s interior, we instead kept the design simple and subtle. These elements had been overused in the past, creating an approach that was ‘busy’ and out of context.

We designed two large signs flanking the off-road turning to act as navigational beacons to passing traffic and visitors – and to create a sense of entrance.

Meanwhile, the flanking signage framework houses both the permanent signage and temporary banners, de-cluttering and tidying up the area.

Planning the signage through the car park and grounds was an exercise in thinking carefully about where signage was really required, and not having any unnecessary signage, as the Trust did not want the site to be over-signposted.

What the client said

Working with Sherlock has been a great experience from start to finish. Their design team put together a series of proposals that captured the tone and temperament of Charleston and were receptive to our feedback. Sherlock produced a very strong wayfinding system sympathetic to the strong aesthetic concept associated with the house. The whole team was friendly, helpful and approachable.Leah Romanieallo – Head of Operations and Visitor Experience, The Charleston Trust. 

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