The City of Leduc wants to help visitors and residents find their way around.
On Sept. 30, around 45 people gathered in Lede Room at the Leduc Civic Centre to learn about wayfinding and offer their opinions on the best way to help people find Leduc’s points of interest.
“Wayfinding guides people through an environment to destinations within it,” said presenter Stephen Sinclair of Sinclair Design Associates. “It employs the combined disciplines of graphic design, architecture, storytelling and landscape architecture. It is the design and application of visual communications for the build world. In other words….it lets you find the washrooms.”
Using wayfinding techniques, said Sinclair, marks the best route to a destination, improves traffic flow within a community, guides people to parking, encourages pedestrians to explore, supports a community’s brand, offers a visual catalyst and instills community pride which encourages storefront improvements.
“It’s a relatively inexpensive facelift,” he said.
To date, Sinclair and his partners have completed a site assessment of Leduc, which included a photo analysis, stakeholder interviews and a vehicular and pedestrian circulation analysis.
One of the things coming out of the interviews with stakeholders was that pedestrian signage should indicate not how far away something is but how long it will take to walk there.
“People want to know in minutes, not meters where something is,” he said.
The next step in the project was designing and presenting the initial concepts for maps and signage.
Sinclair also noted Leduc has made a good effort in getting people to certain locations but the initial analysis found several inconsistencies and there is room for improvement, especially because wayfinding is geared toward first-time users.
“If you live here, you know where everything is and how to find it,” he said.
For first time users, however, gateway signage at the north, south, east and west entryways will guide people into Leduc then interpretive information centres, maps and signage can guide people around the community.
Improved mapping and signage on the multiway will also help users find their way around on foot and bicycles.
“All of this goes to promoting your destination,” he said. “We hope that as people use this there’d be storefront improvements out of a sense of pride which would lead to economic development.”
Sinclair presented those in attendance with three design concepts that could be used as is or modified to reflect the community.
Several people suggested looking into lighting on the signs so they were more visible at night and one person asked about the possibility of installing QR codes on signs and the interpretive centre to provide people with even more information.
As two of the three design concepts were white backgrounds with splashes of colour and one darker sign concept was horizontal rather than a spire, several people wanted to know if they would stand out once the snow flies and drifts and windrows grew over the winter.
The information from this session will be used in the next phase of the project, design development. One the design is approved and the plan outlined, the project will go out to tender for the building and implementation of the signs.