Interpretation board theme – Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

SWT Doxey Marches Interpretation sign on reclaimed railway sleeper boards

Doxey Marshes – improving the visitor experience

Doxey Marshes is Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve at around 300 acres. It is comprised from a quilt of grazing marsh, wet grassland, swamp, open water, subsidence pools in the valley of the River Sow.

It has an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status, due to the presence of regionally important numbers of breeding and wintering birds. Of particular importance are snipe and lapwing, along with an array of other wetland flora / fauna, and mammals including otters.


Crayfish Design were invited to assist with enriching the visitor experience at Doxey Marshes, primarily through designing a set of interpretive themes and subsequent display boards to communicate the reserve’s stories.

The designs were to engage with audiences across a range of entrance location boards, key feature points and some of the the site’s interpretive installations, including a family and bird watchers hide.

SWT Doxey Marches Octagonal Hide Interpretation Boards


  • Icon design and illustration
  • Map and infographic design
  • Photo manipulation and compositing


Our approach was to create a underlying theme which would lend itself to a range of interpretation boards but also reflect the tapestry and diversity within the site. Building on from the Wildlife Trust’s brand colours and illustrative elements, we utilised a structured methodology to construct a grid based mosaic, upon which imagery and typographical elements could be applied. This approach allowed us to be flexible and to add details to key features around the location maps. On to this framework we used combination of cut out images and photo composition techniques to highlight and enhance select wildlife from the background.

SWT Doxey Marches Interpretation Board

This layering and grid mosaic style has since been used across several interpretation projects for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust by Crayfish Design and their internal communications team.

As the Doxey Marshes site covered a large area, a stylised map was constructed and set in two different locations, with north and south facing orientations. Furthermore, with the West Coast Mainline Railway running through the site the primary interpretation panels were set on reclaimed railway sleeper boards which gave a juxtaposition of reclaimed and new style aesthetics.

SWT Doxey Marches Interpretation Board map design close-up

To support the maps, a series of hand drawn sketches / illustrations of highlighted wildlife species were developed into icons.

SWT Doxey Marches key icons


The theme and subsequent designs incorporated:

  • Interpretation panels
  • Map illustrations
  • Wildlife species and feature icons
  • Leaflets

What the client said:

“Fantastic, thank you for all your hard work. I really love the lapwing board layout – combining photos to create the scene is really powerful for telling the story visually.”

Cathy Taylor, Visitor Experience Coordinator, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Related categories: Infographics and visuals