Great wayfinding design considers past history and current context, while anticipating future changes and growth. The Town of Sundre was looking for one new sign. We thought bigger, and teamed up with the talented Kit Walton to design an entire wayfinding system.
The Town of Sundre's original request for proposal was simple: an updated visitor information sign to replace several outdated signs. However, we chose to look beyond the town's immediate need. Instead, we considered how the new sign might fit into the context of a larger system. City council agreed with our assessment, and hired us to design a town wide signage and wayfinding system.
Our initial sketches for a new Visitor Information Centre (VIC) sign is really what caught the selection committees attention. The concepts were inspired by both Sundre's heritage of ranching and farming, as well as it's geographic location in the foothills. Following a meeting with town council, we refined the design while also working on developing the entire wayfinding system.
After several rounds of revisions the designs for both the VIC sign and wayfinding signage were finalized. We worked closely with the town, and using a structured revision system, we were able to ensure that the signage embodied the visual identity of the town while meeting all of the functional requirements.
We then shifted our focus towards the fabrication and installation of the initial visitor information sign. As industrial designers, we pride ourselves in our ability to execute our concepts when it comes time to actually building them. As members of the Alberta Sign Association, we ensure that structural requirements are consciously considered throughout the design process. We created a realistic 3D model that incorporated all of the structural components of the sign as well as a detailed set of sign fabrication, foundation, and installation drawings. We coordinated with an engineer to have these drawings stamped to ensure that the sign met all safety requirements and was structurally sound. Next, we talked with the sign fabrication professionals at ATS Traffic Group to bring our vision for the VIC sign into reality.
The final designs for the VIC and wayfinding system subtly reference Sundre's proximity to the mountains, and use a contrast between natural cedar and industrial metal to create a modern, youthful, outdoor aesthetic. The VIC sign features removable icons (fastened to the sign using tamper-resistant bolts) of activities within the town that can be swapped out for different symbols depending upon the season. The map of the town is also removable, allowing for it to be easily changed as the town grows. The wayfinding system features seven different signs for various uses around the town. The coloured section at the top of the sign designates the town district that it is located in, and co-ordinates with the overall town map. This colour system will provide an added level of clarity for both visitors and residents as they navigate the town.
By taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, we were able to help the Town of Sundre understand the broader context of their needs. Instead of just one sign, they now have a sustainable signage system that will act as a template for the wayfinding system in the town for years to come.