Princeton University

Creating a welcoming experience for everyone

Founded in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the US and is ranked first in the US. The word ‘campus’ was first coined during the 1770’s for Princeton. Campus was used to describe the University’s original Nassau Hall, one of America’s oldest institutions, and its surrounding landscape. 

Since then the campus has continued to grow, resulting in an eclectic mix of architecture and natural spaces, spread over more than 600 acres.

Today, the University and the campus are expanding rapidly. The University realised that the welcome and the ability to navigate the enlarged areas was more difficult than it should be. 

The University required a rethink of how its audience experienced the campus, and replan of its entire campus wayfinding system in order to make it more integrated, accessible and welcoming.

Applied developed a wayfinding master plan that contained six pillars. These are now largely implemented and it is easier to navigate than ever before. Recent developments include a unique digital interactive wayfinding app. This was designed to ideally complement the physical wayfinding system.

Princeton University
Princeton & West Windsor, New Jersey, US

Student population


New building projects


Use of the term ’campus’

An expanding system

The University has been expanding its capacity and its campus. Opening a new area south of Lake Carnegie, along with a number of new buildings and regenerating existing sites across the Campus. The institution also had significant sustainability and inclusivity goals that needed to be met.

The team identified that the campus’s multitude of buildings and pathways would require better marking of building entrances and a map-based system.

A welcoming arrival

There was an absence of welcome and navigation help upon arrival at the University’s Train Station. This crucial arrival point, amongst others, were important destinations which needed to be part of the new campus-wide wayfinding system.

Addressing system

The strategy identified that the campus had expanded and neighbourhood addresses were missing. A long period of engagement crafted with logic have now selected Campus neighbourhood names. These appear in the environment and appear on all mapping and addressing.


The campus wayfinding for the University needs to better serve an array of users, which include students, faculty, staff and visitors. This focus on accessibility created the need for a series of nudges and helpful information to guide disabled people along accessible routes. This involves both physical and digital methods.

Building naming

The historical nature of many buildings had left a legacy of a lack of identification. One of the system's pillars is to clearly identify every building and entrance, in a way sympathetic to the architecture.

Integrating transport

Applied designed a bus stop prototype and network map to account for reduced services amidst the pandemic. The team introduced Princeton to E-Ink technology, which has now been rolled out across many of the University’s key bus stops to provide real-time updates.

New liveries for Princeton’s TigerTransit bus fleet were also designed.

Richer experiences

Student feedback pointed to the need to use app based tools to help understand and navigate the campus. Following wide-ranging research of the options and a clear vision for its purpose, a custom campus map app has been launched. This is a perfect companion to the physical system and delivers detailed and accurate accessible routing.

The Princeton Campus Map is available now on iPhone from the App Store, and on Android via the Google Play Store.

Please note that it works best when you are on campus!

No items found.