Reimagining Park Signage
The Sandy Springs design team was approached by the Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks Department to develop an interpretive signage system for use in the City's parks. We would be replacing one existing trail-head sign for the Island Ford Trail, developing kiosk style signage for the new Lost Corner Preserve and developing two educational signs for the new Marsh Creek Rain Garden.
Existing Trail-Head Sign at Island Ford
Our first task was to evaluate the existing trail-head sign at Island Ford. The white paint was stained green by the pollen that plagues us here in Georgia. The glass was partially smashed and the printed black and white trail map was torn. We also noticed the sign was somewhat taller than it should be as Sarah Wilson (pictured above) is 5ft 5in tall.
Kiosk-Style Sign at Lost Corner Preserve
Our next step was sketching our kiosk-style signage for the new Lost Corner Preserve as this is the item that would put the biggest dent in our budget. The initial design was quoted at $11,651, so we simplified the topper resulting in a saving of $6,150.
Color Scheme
Georgia pollen will show up equally against light colors and dark colors. It is naturally a yellowy-green color, so rather than fight it, we embraced it and selected a RAL 1020 (light green) as our powder-coating color accented with RAL 8014 (brown). For the Marsh Creek Rain Garden signage, we selected a black powder-coating to match existing fencing, benches and trash cans.
Design Aesthetic
We wanted our signs to look classic and sophisticated, yet still appear clean and modern. We were also conscious that we weren't designing a single sign, but rather a design system that could be used time and again across many parks in Sandy Springs. We selected a watercolor look for our visual assets as there is an abundance of high-quality, low cost stock imagery of nature illustrations in that style. For our typefaces, we selected Optima Nova for titles and headers paired with Arno Pro for body copy.
Considering the damage to the existing Island Ford trail-head sign, we invested in scratchproof/weatherproof panels with a 10-year warranty for all future park signage. These panels do not require glass frontage.
Marsh Creek Rain Garden
With the Lost Corner Preserve and Island Ford Trail signage manufactured and installed in early 2016, the project team turned our attention to the City's newest park. Following the design system we'd established, the welcome sign pictured above practically designed itself. However, a request came in for an interpretive sign to communicate how the Rain Garden would function. For this we would need some custom illustration to match the watercolor style of our system.
We started by sketching a cross-section diagram of how stormwater flows through the Rain Garden.
Once our engineers had signed-off on the sketch, we wrote copy and created a flow diagram to the same scale as the finished sign.
Fortunately, we were able to source local Atlanta illustrator, Steve Morrison to bring our vision to life. Steve illustrated digitally in Photoshop making the revision process painless.
Project Team

Jason Green
Project Manager, Art Direction, Copy Writer

Sarah Wilson
Graphic Designer

Marla Shavin
Copy Editor

Steve Morrison
Marsh Creek Treatment Process Sign Illustrator

Jamie Inks
Production Manager

Reimagining Park Signage

Reimagining Park Signage

Park Signage