Newnham College, Cambridge

Text Image

Newnham College
Identity, signage and wayfinding
Cambridge, 2017–

Founded in 1871, Newnham College at the University of Cambridge is one of the UK’s last remaining women’s only undergraduate college. In 1928, it served as the venue for Virginia Woolf’s famous lecture on women’s learning, ‘A Room of One’s Own’.

For the college’s visual identity, we wanted a solution and a process that would be at once formal and human, in keeping with Newnham’s history as a place of learning and as a welcoming place where students live.

For the logotype, we chose the serif typeface Practice – commonly referred to as humanist, as it is shaped from Renaissance handwriting – designed by contemporary typographer François Rappo. We typeset this classically for all college signage.

We engaged Erin Bradley-Scott, a signwriter, to paint all signs across the college – a total of 6540 square metres – over a six-week period, while residing at the college. This activity drew a lot of interest from students, academics and other visitors. The resulting letters, expertly rendered, are both authoritative and warm, in keeping with Newnham’s atmosphere and mission.

Architecture: Walters & Cohen
Interior design: Ab Rogers Studio
Photography: Thomas Adank