In 2017, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) completed an assessment of park system signage with recommendations for improvement, including the need for a programmatic approach to managing signage. In 2018, PARD harnessed internal graphic design resources to develop a concept-level update to PARD’s Signage and Wayfinding Manual with a focus on welcoming messaging and a refreshed look, but additional resources were still needed for the full development of a manual. In 2019, PARD’s Sign Standards Committee was formed to support the development of the PARD Signage and Wayfinding Program, meeting bi-weekly over the last three years. The PARD Sign Standards Committee includes representation from PARD’s Sign Shop within the Facility Services Division, PARD Architectural Development Division, PARD Site Development Division, PARD Planning Division, and the PARD Marketing and Communications Unit. In March 2021, a part-time temporary employee was hired to assist in program coordination. Austin City Council approved 1 full-time Program Development Coordinator position in the FY23 budget.
The initial program goals and status are as follows:
- Expansion and full development of the PARD Signage and Wayfinding Manual by a design team specializing in environmental graphic design, wayfinding, and landscape architecture. The process includes expanding sign types to meet the needs of the system, selecting signage material that meets sustainability and life-cycle goals, exploring culturally inclusive messaging, developing new mapping conventions, and streamlining fabrication and installation methods. PARD executed a contract in August 2022 with Asakura Robinson, a local landscape architecture firm, and their subconsultants Page/ and Mapwell Studio with an expected completion by next summer 2023.
- A dedicated staff member to support the development and coordination of the Signage and Wayfinding Program and to bring support to all aspects of the sign development process. In the FY23 budget cycle, PARD received one full-time employee to support the program and anticipates completing the hiring process in Spring 2023.
- Enhancing the capacity and capability of the sign shop by exploring additional options for fabricating, procurement, and project delivery, including options for specialized signage.
For more information, please contact Nicholas Mahlburg, Program Development Coordinator, Parks and Recreation by email or by phone at (512) 974-9478.