Wayfinding - the science of signage at Rutherford Cancer Centres


On 6 February, a 55-tonne proton beam therapy machine was lowered into position at The Rutherford Cancer Centre in Bomarsund, Northumberland. The machine, which weighs the same as a plane, is set to revolutionise cancer care in the North East.

Advanced care in the North East

Opening in May this year, the centre in Bomarsund will be one of the first in the country to offer proton beam therapy, an advanced treatment for cancer.

The role of signage in healthcare settings

Newcastle-based wayfinding and signage specialist, Sarah Phillips of Picto Sign Solutions, has been working the owners of The Rutherford Cancer Centres, Proton Partners International, and architects JDDK to develop the signage for each of the company’s four cancer treatment centres across the UK.

Due care and consideration

The client brief for the signage was that it needed to set the tone for the patient experience while differentiating the treatment centres from any other healthcare provider.

With experience of working on similar specialist healthcare projects across the UK, Sarah understood the need to approach the development of signage for The Rutherford Cancer Centre in Northumberland with care and consideration.

“Signage plays a vital role in any healthcare setting. It needs to make it easy for people to find their way around an unfamiliar place – hence the term wayfinding – and also work to reduce any sensations of visual overload, instead helping people to feel at ease.”

Sarah Phillips, PICTO

How Picto works

Picto offers both turnkey signage solutions and wayfinding consultancy for projects across the UK. With projects across six key sectors, education, healthcare, culture, living spaces, workplace, and community and sports facilities, Picto’s recent work in the region can also be seen at the Darlington Hippodrome and The Fire Station in Sunderland.