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The Steering Group

The Society is a private company limited by guarantee with appointed Directors delivering the formal functions of Chair, Company Treasurer and Secretary. The Society holds an Annual General Meeting, which is open to all members.

The strategic direction and Society’s programme of activities is determined and managed by a Steering Group (SG). All current SG members are professionals in one or other of the fields served by the Society. They participate voluntarily and receive no financial remuneration.

Day-to day activities including member communication, organising events and maintaining the website is the responsibility of the Society Administrator, who is employed by the Society under contract.

The success of the Society relies on the resources and enthusiasm of our membership. We’re always keen to hear from members with new ideas or who are interested in in getting more involved. If you are able to contribute your time – however small, please speak the Chair or a member of the Steering Group.

Details on all members of the Steering Group are given below:

Chair and Sponsorship

Sian Kelly, from The Velvet Principle

Sian is the Operations Director of The Velvet Principle; a specialist wayfinding, branding and experiential graphic design consultancy. Since forming in 2010, The Velvet Principle has worked on various retail and corporate office projects both in the UK and overseas.

Prior to this, her career was very much on the client side, with roles in business development, marketing and strategy within Coca-Cola, The National Physical Laboratory and more latterly the governments’ innovation agency – The Technology Strategy Board (now called Innovate UK). At The Technology Strategy Board, Sian was responsible for developing and implementing the UK’s technology strategy for the Creative Industries. She is very interested in the contribution that technology can make in helping people to understand their environment and maximise their experience. She has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Liverpool University and an MBA from Kingston University.

Sian is keen to promote mutual understanding and appreciation between others working within the property development sector and sign design and wayfinding professionals; and will be exploring opportunities to collaborate with other representative bodies.


Billy Griffin, from Artisan

Photo of Billy Griffin

Billy has been working in the sign industry for nearly thirty years. He holds an MSc in marketing from University College Dublin. He also graduated with a CPIM in production management at Dublin City University, a diploma in Design at DIT Bolton Street and a diploma in International Sales Management, also with the DIT. He has completed a degree level course in Business Development in the International Management Institute.

Billy’s interests are his family, reading, music, art, architecture, golf, keeping (relatively!) fit and getting out and about. If pushed, he’ll admit to being a bit of a petrol head in his spare time!

Billy joined the Steering Group in 2015 and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to what he feels is the only Association that deals with Information Design and issues specific to signs.

Company Secretary and Education

Colette Jeffrey

Photo of Colette Jeffrey

Colette was a Director of the SDS for ten years before taking a break when she began working in Birmingham, but has now returned as a member of the steering group focusing on education-based opportunities and issues for the SDS.

In 1999, Colette researched and co-wrote the official NHS guidance on wayfinding and ever since has been involved in wayfinding design for over sixty complex environments. Past clients include thirty NHS hospitals, The British Library, Heathrow Airport, the Natural History Museum, Wembley Arena, London South Bank University, Queen Mary University of London and on-street pedestrian sign and map systems for the cities of London, Leeds and Brighton.

Colette is also a wayfinding consultant and information designer having spent over twenty years developing creative solutions to enable people to navigate hospitals, airports, universities, shopping centres, museums and most recently pedestrian information systems for UK cities.

Colette has been a Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication at Birmingham City University since 2009, and is currently writing a PhD thesis exploring how people find their way (and why they get lost) inside complex built environments. She will share her research findings with SDS members next year.


Laura Alway

Laura is a wayfinding designer with over five years’ experience in wayfinding and information design. She graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Multimedia Design having always had more of a passion for graphic and information design.

Laura has worked in the wayfinding team at Atkins for over two years broadening her knowledge of wayfinding within the public realm and urban environments. She has previously worked for a variety of large-scale organisations and has previous experience of working on projects across a number of airports as well as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Laura joined the steering group in 2015, she enjoys bringing new ideas and creative solutions to the team and is always keen to develop her skill set.

Brand and Identity

Wendy Wilsher

Photo of Wendy Wilsher

Wendy has specialised in typographic and information graphic design for over 16 years since graduating from The University of Reading with a BA (Hons) in Typographic and Graphic Communication. After leading wayfinding design in two London consultancies, she now runs her own specialised typographic consultancy with a particular focus on wayfinding and information design solutions. Wendy has a strong understanding of wayfinding within both internal spaces and external environments, enjoying the most complex of wayfinding challenges most of all. She was a leading member of the design team responsible for wayfinding throughout many Network Rail Major Stations and other notable projects have included several large scale library wayfinding and information design schemes and RNLI’s internationally acclaimed, award winning, coastal signage program.

Wendy is a respected graphical symbol designer and has contributed designs for both British and International Standards. She spends much of her time in California, with her business allowing her to work on projects both sides of the pond. Wendy was a winner of the Student category in the SDS’s Sign Design Awards in 1999, subsequently joining the Steering Group as a Society member.


Andrew Barker

Photo of Andrew Barker

Andrew has been working as a designer and project manager for over thirty years since studying typography and graphic communication at the University of Reading. In that time he has designed for print, digital, and environmental contexts, including eleven years on the staff of Penguin Books.

He is currently self-employed, working mainly in wayfinding design and book design. He is also just finishing his PhD looking at the relationship between behaviour and design, and, having planted one foot back in research, he is hoping to act as an advocate for the benefits of research for design practice in providing a solid evidence base for design decisions. His interest throughout is in helping people to achieve their goals (whether that’s finding the right platform in a train station, or deciding what to cook for dinner) as easily as possible.

Andrew’s creative practice also includes making live art and performance, mainly with the company he co-founded: The Five Andrews. Their performances have been seen in a variety of unlikely venues including a paddling pool in Zurich, and their film work has been shown at festivals on every continent.

Andrew joined the steering group in 2017, mainly because he can’t help interfering in how things are run.

Standards and Inclusive Design

Simon Hillier

image of steering group member Simon Hillier

Simon is Associate & Planning Director at Applied Wayfinding, the design studio best known for its pioneering work in legible cities. Since 2003, he has delivered research, strategy and design for major public realm, transport and cultural projects around the world. Part of the original Legible London design team, he has since developed wayfinding systems in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Singapore, Paris and Qatar.

Originally from an audio engineering background, Simon first became interested in the application of information in the environment while studying Graphic Design at Central St. Martins and Camberwell College of Arts.

With a particular passion for inclusive design, Simon currently provides wayfinding support for Building Regulations: Part M (Access to and use of buildings), and represents the Sign Design Society on the British Standards Committee for Accessible and Inclusive Environments.

Design Evaluation

David Kemp

Head shot of David Kemp (new Steering Group member)

David is a shareholder and Director of Air Design which he joined in 2002.

Originally from a research background, David has over 20 years of consulting experience within the fields of market research, branding, wayfinding and interiors.

A key member of the leadership team, David has played an important role in building Air’s international profile, working with the Department of International Trade to help Air to enter new markets.

David has a wealth of experience in the property sector, and likes nothing better than rolling up his sleeves, engaging with clients, brands and places to help conceptualise and deliver placemaking strategies.

His expertise and leadership skills have helped Air deliver award-winning wayfinding solutions to clients such as IKEA, Emaar, Berkeley Group and Russian Railways.

Society Administrator

Kate Wright

Kate began work as Society Administrator in March 2018. She is keen to take on the challenge of supporting SDS members, consolidating her extensive experience in administration and working virtually, whilst having the flexibility to combine work and motherhood.

One of life’s seekers, Kate has a first degree in MFL. She has worked across a range of fields, including supporting members of a professional STEM body, working in mental health research and most recently being an online forum editor. With an MSc in Research Methods, she is curious and inquisitive, keen on proven facts and has a theory about most things! She loves the challenge of the new, in particular learning about the psychology of human behaviour in the context of the wider physical world. With an observant nature and an eye for the detail in going about daily life, she is very much looking forward to converting her ‘lay’ experiences of the SDS areas of interest into insider knowledge about this fascinating field, and to finding out more about current work and research in this area.