Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Botanics in Edinburgh is such a well-used and loved oasis within the city – we were delighted to win the tender to work on a project to refresh the visitor journey (welcome, and navigation signage). This was very much a team effort along with Shirley Lochhead of Tea and Type design and Keith Salton of Signergy, and of course the team at RBGE.

I was responsible for planning, project management and signage content. We spent a lot of time walking and talking around the site, exploring its maze of paths with different user’s needs in mind, scribbling a lot on maps, taking photos and listening to the client’s requirements. Then back at the desk we came up with creative, practical and cost effective solutions. We wanted it to feel contemporary and on-brand and to complement the plants while bearing in mind that it is still effectively an urban garden.

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The client provided visitor survey and observational data that established where the offer could be improved and we tackled these issues directly. For instance, we knew that visitors starting at different entrances into the garden didn’t tend to explore much further. Information on entry charges and what you could and couldn’t do in the garden was confusing or presented in way that could come over as overly restrictive. What we’ve produced has a deliberately friendlier tone.

We introduced a series of navigation panels (each one with slightly different content) that included highlights from that area of the garden (natural history, significant flora etc) while cross promoting other areas and different wildlife and plant species. The new signs have made a big difference to the ‘sense of place’ and big improvements to the quality of presentation across the site. Most importantly, it is easier for visitors to find their way round.

In terms of project management we had to be flexible and work around significant events in the garden such as thousands of visitors descending on the garden during the Easter holidays.

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