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The Place Standard Tool was developed by the Scottish Government to help understand the qualities of a place. It maps what there is in the area, how you move around it and how it feels to live there. We updated the design of the tool so that is easier to understand and use.

Our role

  • Branding
  • Icon design
  • Copywriting
  • Website design

Setting a benchmark

The Place Standard logotype is a way of building trust and communicating the values of the people who use it. Designers can add the logo to their stationary, like an accreditation, to highlight that they consider how their work affects the lives of people who live in the environments they create.

Place standard letter

Creating a system

Measuring how a space impacts the people who live in it is complex and could be overwhelming to look at. To tackle this we designed a system beginning with a simple icon set, one icon for each quality the tool measures. These were grouped into five categories with similar qualities appearing next to each other. The categories were made clear by naming them and allocating a colour to each.


Any jargon used in the tool could stop people from feeling able to use it. One way to increase accessibility was to revisit the language it uses so that it is easy for everyone to understand and implement.

Explainer sentence

Designing the tool

The tool was rebuilt using the new system so that when people score one of the qualities on the dial it begins to show a picture of the place. Once it is complete you can instantly see which categories need the most consideration in any future development of the area. The black dots highlight poorest performing qualities that should translate to design priorities.

Place Standard diagram

Building a resource

The Place Standard tool is only the beginning. We proposed that it would be developed into a website full of resources that force designers to progress through their work in a more holistic way. Users would log on to record the answers from the tool which would inform the priorities for the project. The platform would be accessible to clients, planners and other members of the team to record their feedback and requirements, with designers not being able to progress to the next step in the process until these are addressed. 

Place standard website
Place Standard results
Place Standard results 2


These designs and recommendations formed part of a development strategy produced by Collective Architecture and were put forward to the Scottish Government to inform future iterations of place mapping in Scotland.

Place Standard print examples
Studio 204, Axiom, 54 Washington Street, Glasgow, G3 8AZ Google Maps