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University of Alabama in Huntsville

Huntsville, AL

Founded in 1950 and integrated within the University of Alabama system in 1969, this premiere research university contributes leaders to NASA, NOAA and other high-flying American institutions. Located on 400 acres in “Rocket City,” this campus sits between downtown Huntsville and the second largest research park in the U.S.; it is bisected by a busy road.

While introducing a new identity, UAH also wanted to emphasize its presence relative to the city and its research partner to the west. Several UAH campus buildings are located within the park, and tech-centered internships are a primary draw for potential UAH students.

Initially, the campus featured very few wayfinding aids: aside from some “signature” buildings, the campus is architecturally similar and minimal signage existed. The new wayfinding signage unifies the campus both visually and informationally, carrying new logic for circulation, entrances, parking and building identification.

  • Recommendations for wayfinding logic included vehicular and pedestrian circulation, campus entrance naming, alphanumeric parking identification and building codes. 
  • The signage features a rocket-like silver and gray color scheme for two reasons: the signs are less susceptible to UV fading, and the UAH blue accents visually “pop” in the context of the environment.
  • Vehicular guide signs direct traffic around the primary entrance roundabout. A Saturn V rocket serves as a memorable nearby campus landmark.
  • Campus boundaries and entrances are identified along busy Huntsville roadways, directing to primary campus destinations.
  • Large building identification signs are designed to be viewed from a distance, aiding navigation.
  • Parking and directional signs feature the new wayfinding logic and simplified information
  • Building identification signs include the 3-letter code
  • Pedestrian kiosks serve as landmarks and points of information.

The exterior wayfinding system went from takeoff to touchdown in one calendar year. Future campus improvements include a landmark Welcome Center and new interior signage standards.