written by
Tim Fendley
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The COVID-19 design toolkit
The definitive system for social distancing

It’s great that we have started emerging from full lockdown, but the subsequent increase in COVID-19 cases has resulted in cities around the world heading back into strict lockdown with the understanding that we may have to live with social distancing for a year or more.

There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding the rules and messages surrounding social distancing, with governments around the world using a variety of methods to try and control infection rates. Often the tactics they employ are draconian, and indiscriminate, but unfortunately necessary.

The simple calculation is that if we can deliver social distancing successfully, then we can avoid more of these strict measures. Post-lockdown rules are not simple, and there is plenty of confusion with different messages and a cacophony of signs often describing the same thing in different ways. The overarching question is, are these messages and signs effective?

With our expert understanding of human behaviour in the built environment, we’ve thought about how we can help end the confusion around social distancing. Our response is the development of the COVID-19 Design Toolkit. It has been created for governments, public, and private sector organisations help the public, to practice social distancing effectively.

It tackles two issues that at first glance might not be obvious. Firstly, it’s not enough to have the right content on a sign to be effective it also has to be in the right place. Secondly, We only need one standard. It’s counter-productive to create multiple versions and ways of signing. We only use one road sign system for good reason, and it becomes the authority.

The COVID-19 Design Toolkit has three parts:

A grounding in the science of transmission and the practice of behaviour change.
A comprehensive set of guidelines to allow you to plan and implement best-practice quickly.
Ready-made sign designs, editable templates, and a universal icon set.
The Toolkit will allow you to place signs in the best locations and will allow many organisations to personalise, while still collaborating to support one standard.

For these reasons, we felt the best chance to be effective is if we published our knowledge for everyone to use.

The guidelines are free to download via

The design resources and templates are also available to purchase via the website for a nominal fee which helps to support the development of the Toolkit and future, specialised versions.

When you have looked through the Toolkit, please talk to us if you require any further explanation or help. We plan to update and add sections and versions when needs arise. If you want to help, please let us know.

If we coordinate and collaborate, we can get through this.

Thank you,

Tim Fendley,

CEO & Creative Director of Applied

written by
Tim Fendley
Tim founded Applied Information Group to push the boundaries of information design. He is driven by the need to make cities more inclusive and explorative and has set a new standard for urban wayfinding with his notion of Legible Cities.
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