top of page

The University of Tokyo Hospital - outpatient ward

東京大学医学部付属病院 -外来棟

Sign Design



location :

Tokyo / Japan


Based on the master plan of the architect Shinichi Okada, the University of Tokyo Hospital has repeatedly expanded and remodeled itself over the past 40 years to become its   present form. Patients are being treated at five facilities: the 

Central Clinical Service Bldg. 1(1988), the Outpatient Clinic Bldg.(1993), the Inpatient Bldg. A (2001), the Central Clinical Service Bldg.2 (2006), and the Inpatient Bldg. B (2030). 

The parallel arrangement of buildings is flexible to accommodate renovation plans, but has the characteristics that the horizontal movement line of people becomes longer. Guiding patients smoothly from a building to another is an important function required for a large hospital sign.

Especially, the smooth movement to the Central Clinical Service Bldg. was regarded as a big challenge for the sign design, and we had worked on two big themes.

The first is to make sure that users can follow the initial guidance on the reception floor. If they take a wrong elevator on the floor, moving to the right direction on the upper floor will become difficult. How to smoothly guide them to the correct elevator at the reception floor level .... To solve the problem, we used a large arrow on the wall. At the branch point at the entrance where a passage is divided into two, two noticeable arrows appear. Visitors cannot miss it. Is it right or left? Is it blue or green? The two big arrows are”assists” that help people to confidently choose the destination and route.

The second is the department icon (= visual abbreviation). Although there are possibly long official names that were derived from the name of examination or medical treatment departments, from the viewpoint of a smooth movement of patients with weak mental/physical conditions, signs that can be understood instantly with little effort is desirable. We used icons incorporating abbreviations, such asシンチ(Scinti),X(X-rays),リハ(reha), etc.which are the words that the hospital staff use on a daily basis. Naturally, using them for signs was proposed and these signs were born. Long lines stretching from each icon guides patients to walk towards their destinations.  



The space atOutpatient Clinic Bldg.for outpatients was functionally planned, but unfortunately, due to the low visibility/legibility of the existing yellow signs and the situation where old and inconsistent information remains, confusion had been occurring. In this renovation project, we worked on re-design based on the basics of sign design such as well-organized information, color harmony, and font size. Rather than making them a novel design, we aimed to create a relaxed and calm atmosphere which is gentle to patients by carefully examining the necessary information.




1階で乗車エレベーターの選択を誤ると、上階での水平移動が困難になり、そのことが円滑な移動を妨げる大きな要因でした。1階レベルで、いかに分かりやすく乗車エレベーターまでの水平移動を促すか…。その解決のために、我々は、壁面いっぱいの大きな矢印を用いました。エントランスから二股に分かれる岐路地点で、来訪者の前に迫力ある二つの矢印が登場します。来訪者は、なんとなく素通りするようなことはできません。右か左か?青か緑か? 大きな二つの矢印は、目的地と目的地までのルートを、認識・再認識し、自信を持って選択できる仕掛けサインです。




bottom of page