In the summer of 2016 I was asked to participate in an alumni-faculty exhibition at Drake University and decided to use the opportunity to create new self-motivated work. As an active trail user on both foot and mountain bike, my local trail system had been challenging to navigate around for myself and many other trail users I encountered.
I saw this navigational challenge as an opportunity to merge methods and processes acquired as a practicing User Experience designer with my interest in wayfinding for natural environments.
Initial research and an analysis of current wayfinding methods in Carolina North Forest were performed and presented on a research poster to give exhibition visitors more context into the project. I used the insight gained from this process to begin sketching ideas and determining the content strategy for wayfinding signage.
The final prototypes utilized laser cutting to create easily legible and durable signage that was not visually disturbing in natural environments. A second panel that trail users can slide out was included as a way to include more supplemental information without overloading users at first glance. This panel provides information such as trail distance and elevation, difficulty, and emergency contact information.
The final poster and signage prototypes were displayed alongside the work of John Fender, a close mentor during my undergraduate design education at Drake University. I left Drake having the utmost appreciation for John’s work and commitment to design education, and was honored to show my work alongside his and his mentor’s, Ab Gratama.