There are 200 universities in Korea. But with the nationwide birth rate at an all time low, the student population will drop by 40% within 10 years. 75 universities will be closed down. It’s a fight for survival.
Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS), intends to survive. Already sporting a fresh and contemporary brand, designed by Fuse in 2011 (BUFS brand), BUFS have taken another bold step to ensure their future – they’ve built a brand spanking new campus, from the ground up, nestled in pristine forest on the hillside directly overlooking the city of Busan.
In March 2014, the Namsan Dong campus was officially opened and welcomed over 9000 students and hundreds of staff to fill the lecture theatres, dormitories, canteens and laboratories of Korea’s newest university. So new in fact, that once inside the front gate, no-one was going to have a clue as to where to go, where to park, where to eat or even where the restrooms were.
Cue Fuse Creative to show the way. Roughly 6 months prior to the opening, Fuse director Leigh Cockerill made a 3-day visit to the campus construction site to gather all the intel needed to plan and implement a full wayfinding programme. Working from plans and photos of half finished buildings, the Fuse team back in NZ designed an integrated wayfinding and signage programme starting from street access and traffic signage through to room numbering and glass frosting for office doors.
Based on the theme Pathways to the Future, all the signage features a geometric pattern of intersecting vertical lines known as the Pathways Pattern. This graphic represents dual concepts: the philosophy of career pathways within the university and the visual concept of the view of light shining between the tall trees surrounding the campus.
All the designs were scrutinised and passed by the architectural project team and then Fuse supplied template artwork for each type of sign to a Korean manufacturer to produce over 5000 pillars, posts, signboards, wallboards, door numbers, name plates, directories, elevator signs, café menus and even bus stops.
While we are yet to revisit the site to see the signage in situ, it’s all up and running and we understand no-one has gone missing yet!!