Celebrating 25 Years of Guide Studio!
Rachel Downey founds
Rachel Downey has dedicated literally half her life to nurturing Guide Studio from a fledgling graphic design firm to a sought-after design consultancy specializing in branding and wayfinding.
This year, Guide Studio celebrates twenty-five years of helping communities and place-based organizations communicate and engage with their public and it is a journey she’s been thrilled to navigate
Guide Studio brewed up early success in its first major project
Guide’s very first partnership was with Willoughby Brewing Company, which tasked the studio with creating a clear identity system alongside new packaging, print collateral, and environmental graphics. Rachel Downey – who founded Guide at age 25 as Studio Graphique – remembers being part of the fledgling restaurant and brewery team from its very beginning.
Guide’s robust wayfinding and sign program design stretches to sports venue experience
Landmark athletic facilities are a crucial part of life in Ohio, a culture that Guide Studio has embraced during our 25 years in operation. Guide has helped area sports teams direct fans to their seats while providing clear and concise brand messaging.
Shaker Square project brings a modern touch to historic shopping district
Guide Studio has a special relationship with Shaker Square. Not only is our studio headquartered in the historic Cleveland shopping district, but we also had a hand in shaping how the plaza appears to the thousands of visitors it receives each month.
Guide Helps Tri-C Students, Staff Find Their Way
Visitors to the college expect to find their way around without issue, meaning every interactive touchpoint they encounter must be clear and concise. “It’s important to consider how a first-time user understands their surroundings and moves around them comfortably."
Helping Visitors Navigate a West Side Gem
The city’s proximity to Cleveland’s near-west neighborhoods and positioning between Lake Erie and a major highway provides an attractive advantage for residents and businesses, but people must navigate through densely populated residential neighborhoods to get to the city’s downtown.
Wayfinding Helps Patients Navigate a Stressful Environment
A positive patient experience in healthcare builds trust in providers and allows individuals to become more engaged in their own care. Wayfinding is key to this work, as a well-executed program can improve operational efficiency, reinforce hospital branding, and reduce patient and visitor stress.
North Olmsted’s New Identity Leads to a New and Improved Welcome to the City
North Olmsted engaged Guide Studio in design of a new visual identity as well as city entry and facility identification signs. Guide first re-evaluated the brand identity, finding a lack of communication around a healthy economy and other positive neighborhood and city services.
Wayfinding Program — A Tool for Neighborhood Growth
Ohio City is one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods. Located on the near west side, just over the Cuyahoga River, it is home to one of Cleveland’s most significant cultural treasures — the West Side Market. In 2011, the neighborhood hired Guide Studio to create a neighborhood wayfinding program ahead of its bicentennial the following year.
Bringing a College-Town’s Personality to Life Through Signage and Wayfinding
Not all college towns are alike, notes Guide Studio President Cathy Fromet. Some universities like to keep students on campus, whereas others prefer enrollees to experience life outside the comfort of well-manicured greens and stately buildings.
Up, up and away! Superman Exhibit takes off at CLE
Although Guide Studio has built its reputation on branding and wayfinding, there have been projects over the years that fall outside the bounds of the firm’s normal portfolio.
Guide was a proud part of the permanent Superman exhibit that flew into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2012.
First Out-of-State City Wayfinding Project
Guide Studio’s current client portfolio represents a mix of local and out-of-state communities and organizations. However, that growth required leaving a happy place of well-known cities and neighborhoods for uncharted territories and new adventures. The City of Holland, Michigan, provided this opportunity, hiring Guide Studio with creation of a city-wide signage and wayfinding program.
Designing a lasting sign program for state-wide historic sites
The “Ohio Historical Society” rebranded to “Ohio History Connection”, and with most rebrands, the name and visual identity needed to change on all their site and facility signage. “Anytime you’re changing your identity, signage is one of the first things you’ll want to change as a place or destination,” says Guide President Cathy Fromet.
First out-of-state campus wayfinding program: University of West Georgia
UWG serves a large commuter population, in addition to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors for university-related events and other activities. However, existing signage had become outdated, with directional and building identification lacking a visual hierarchy in how it presented information.
Did you know?