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My last project at fd2s was particularly interesting in that I took over many roles during its duration. For this project I was Lead, Project Manager, Designer, and even Surveyor.


The Scope
The deliverable consisted of a standardized signage program for multiple historic sites. Not only does each site has its own unique programmatic needs and existing, disparate signage; with historic timeframes ranging from pre-columbian civilization to early twentieth century the architectural references span hundreds of years.

How to consolidate hundreds of years of history? How to keep signage from interfering with the site’s specific aesthetics, while performing the important function of guiding visitors through, sometimes a densely packed site in what is now a hotel, sometimes through acres upon acres of beautiful (far-west) Hill Country landscape?
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(One sees a lot of this driving in Texas…)

The challenge seemed daunting at first. The process became a design-guiding trip – in more ways than one – that I’l never forget.
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(Image: Sign Location Plan and Symbol Legend for THC)

The first step in this project was to fully document – and understand – the current state of wayfinding signage in the eighteen sites in the Scope. I also assessed opportunities for improvement.

Presenting these findings became something of its own challenge. There were existing signs to be demolished and replaced, discarded, new signs in places where there were none, and so on.
In order to clearly convey all this information, I devised an easy to use symbol legend where each symbol (distinct even when reproduced in black and white) would communicate the conditions of each location.
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(Early sketches for THC wayfinding signage)

Once I understood the needs of the system it was easier to think about the container for these messages. But there was still the question of how to consolidate so many dissimilar sites.
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(Studies for THC wayfinding signage)

My approach was to design a sign that conveyed the Texas Historical Commission brand. Taking in consideration their existing brand guidelines, budget and material considerations I produced a simple post and panel system.
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(Final sign family for THC wayfinding signage)

These are signs that, rather than trying to blend in a faux-period-style fashion, embrace their contrast and announce the sites belong to an organization whose mission and reach extends beyond the current site. Bold enough to stand out, sober enough to allow for the site’s own characteristics to shine.
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(Wayfinding Signage Manual)
The final deliverable included message schedules with sign location plans for all sites, as well as a detailed wayfinding sign standards manual.
Follow this link to see an excerpt of the manual at Issuu:
http://issuu.com/nandojourneyman/docs/egd-thc-signage-stds-manual?e=3543605/3464494
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – Wayfinding signage for Texas Historical Commission
(Photos courtesy fd2s)
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Result – As is often the case, signage end up becoming a strong representation of an organization across diverse media.
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I couldn’t just leave you with that. Not after seeing more Texas than most. Here’s a look of the Chihuahuan Desert on the way to Fort Lancaster.
(Photo by author)

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