I had not designed a wayfinding system before embarking on this project. Schlitz Audubon sits on 185 acres just north of Milwaukee right next to Lake Michigan with a variety of loops and trails for visitors to explore.
After the re-brand and website were finalized, a wayfinding system was next. Even though there are 6 miles of wonderful trails, there was never a formal sign system… and we knew that many visitors were getting turned around or couldn’t get to where they wanted to go on the land.
So with zero experience in wayfinding or designing for metal, I, along with a small team, created a functional, elegant, and brand-consistent system of signage to get visitors from Mystery Lake to Lake Michigan to the Observation Tower and to anywhere else they wanted to explore on the land.
A main challenge was finding a way to make the signs practical, weather-resistant, but also make sure they did not stick out like a sore thumb amongst the nature they would be nestled between. They needed to blend in, but not blend in too much that visitors would not see a map or miss a trail cue.
The solution was utilizing wooden posts, some from felled trees on the land, and aluminum signs coated with chemical to give them a rusted, corten steel vibe, and UV resistant vinyl to keep the graphics looking sharp for years to come.
The design process visualized for this project
Prototypes of the sign system
Trail inventory & planning for every sign type
and location. 49 Signs total between the 4 sign types
Above: Signs after installation.
Below: Behind the scenes before and during installation