Wayne County Parks Brand and Signage

Case Study

Branding, Signage

Wayne County Parks is located in the most populous county in Michigan, serving more than 1.8 million visitors annually. Covering 11 primary parks totaling more than 5,600 acres, the park system offers distinct programming for children and senior citizens alike. Unique events include Mud Day, Lightfest and Native American Heritage Day, with athletic fields, pedestrian pathways and wetlands.

Challenge

Brand communication was minimal and inconsistent. Despite its popularity and many assets, the Wayne County Parks brand did not reflect or convey the quality of the parks and family-friendly services and programs for residents and visitors. The brand was visually inconsistent and even the residents did not know that these parks or opportunities were driven by the county. This threatened to be a problem in voting season, when residents are asked to vote in favor of funding. Beyond branding, communication, and navigation issues, park signage was dated and worn.

Officials hired Guide Studio to help them rebrand WCP as an urban park system where visitors can enjoy nature while spending time with friends and family.

“Our job is to connect the community to each other in a natural setting. We also want to educate people about the environment while promoting health and wellness. Guide helped us define who we are.”

David Ries,Design Studio Manager, Wayne County Parks

Solutions

    • Worked with stakeholders to create inclusive branding for a region centered on sprawling socioeconomic diversity.
    • Collaborated with park officials on a redesigned logo that captures the spirit of WCP through color and iconography. A tree-like extension of the letter “k” symbolize a commitment to the park system’s history, while multi-colored “leaves” represent the powerful relationship between nature and community. WCP can use the versatile logo across its maps, website and other communication pieces.
    • Created an internal communications piece that provides reliable messaging around new WCP branding and signage, and includes an arsenal of sign types to address future signage needs, reinforcing WCP as a safe, approachable brand for the entire region.
    • Developed an authentic and meaningful sign family with clear messaging and consistent nomenclature across all sign types. Concise gateway, site identification, vehicle and informational signage utilize similar materials and colors, reinforcing brand cohesiveness to tell visitors, “You are here.”

Results

The new brand was launched and implemented within the first phase of the signage program, including the installation of 80 signs at Hines Park, a popular leisure spot for jogging, walking, bicycling and recreational sports. Though future phases will incorporate slightly different sign materials, the overarching theme of civic togetherness will remain intact and serve to reinforce the brand.

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