Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg
Orientation System Terminal

The Berlin Bran­den­burg Air­port is one of the largest and most com­plex trans­port in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects in Ger­many. The build­ing was de­signed by the renowned ar­chi­tects gmp and JSK In­ter­na­tional. Moni­teurs was al­ready ac­tively in­volved in the pro­ject at the com­pe­ti­tion phase for the com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­sign, and by de­grees was com­mis­sioned to de­sign the ori­en­ta­tion sys­tem for the air­port in­clud­ing its sur­round­ings. A key de­sign fea­ture is the colour red, un­usual for air­ports. This gives clear sig­nals for ori­en­ta­tion, and also har­monises with the ar­chi­tec­ture, with its warm tones of wood and nat­ural stone. At the same time, it is mod­elled on the ap­pear­ance of its home states of Berlin and Bran­den­burg. In many places, the signs are di­rectly em­bed­ded into the ar­chi­tec­tural pan­els – some flow around the cor­ner, and this con­cept is wo­ven into the prod­uct de­sign of the signs out­side the build­ing.

Berlin Bran­den­burg Air­port

Ori­en­ta­tion and Guid­ance Sys­tem, In­te­rior
Pub­lic and re­stricted ar­eas
Ter­mi­nal, car parks

Berlin 2012


Flughafen Berlin Bran­den­burg GmbH
Pla­nungs­ge­sellschaft BBI, pg­bbi
since 2005


gmp Ar­chi­tects
von Gerkan, Marg and Part­ners
and J·S·K Ar­chi­tects
HENN Ar­chi­tects (car parks)


280,000 m2 Build­ing

Ca­pac­ity PAX per year

30 Mil­lion

A further element dovetailing the orientation system and the architecture is the lines of the individual graphical elements of the orientation system. Moniteurs adopted the linear structures of the architecture, themselves based upon the coniferous forests of Brandeburg, something which has also inspired some of the modern buildings of Berlin, such as the New National Gallery by Mies van der Rohe. The lines that make up the letters and pictograms produce graded tones, which create a hierarchy among the signs without having to be colourful. In this way, the information is well structured and easily readable. The content structure has been just as clearly configured: the pictogram of the departing aircraft accompanies passengers to security, after which the signs for gates A – D become visible. As the architectural language varies from one part of the building to another, so too does the graphical language of the orientation system. In the North Pier, for example, where the wall fixtures are not made of wood, passenger information is applied directly to the walls. This variety of applications illustrates once more the strength of the clear, integrated design concept.

The architectural patterns were incorporated into the orientation system and refined for the graphics. In this way, the orientation system is optimally integrated into the architecture, as in this example of the wood panel walls.

The architecture is inspired equally by the pine forests of Brandenburg and the modern buildings of Berlin. Horizontally set lines became the fundamental design element for both the architecure and the orientation system.

The ruled lines, particularly on large letters, prevent them from being too bright, and provide the perfect contrast for the backlit signs. Digital printing on foil proved to be the best manufacturing technique: the red glow shines through just as clearly and looks calm. Smaller areas with purely white lettering, on the other hand, are particularly bright and clearly visible. Thus, it is possible to differentiate font size and style using tonal values without the need for multiple colours.

The lines visualise the behaviour of airflow, the force which gives the aircraft its lift.

The concept of using lines in the orientation system continues onto the walls and glass and acts as a safety measure against walking into the glass.

The airport's corporate font connects the digital signs to the orientation system.