The fun and excitement of exploring our country’s natural parks relies heavily on the quality of their layout and information infrastructures. After all, without a way to tell where you are, where you’re going, or what there is around you, it can be easy for an unfamiliar visitor to get disoriented or lost––not the kind of experience we expect when we visit our natural spaces.
While the average park visitor usually doesn’t think twice about the signage he or she uses to navigate around the grounds, park signs are very much the end result of a larger planning and design process that takes a variety of factors into account.
Designed to not only attract the attention of park-goers, effective signage must also strike a balance between providing useful, relevant park information with universally understood recreation symbols everyone can read and find of use.
Blending tradition with technology
While there is any number of ways to design a sign, the true test of quality is measured by its ability to communicate information effectively. Citing Berntsen International’s approach to park and trail marking in a recent issue of Parks & Recreation Magazine, clarity and usability emerged as two vital qualities designers focus on to when planning out a signage project.
With many park guests coming equipped with smartphones, “usability” takes on a broader meaning as the ability to attach 21st century enhancements like QR codes to traditional signage opens the door to digital adaptability that before now, wasn’t even a possibility.
By including digital features visitors can use with the GPS mapping applications found on their smartphone, an ordinary sign can help park-goers orient themselves inside the park as well as transmit location-specific information about nearby plants, animals, and landmarks.
With so many integrative possibilities provided by QR code technology, parks could also display events and other programs directly to a visitor’s phone. Looking to the future, RFID technology may one day take the place of QR codes to provide an even more in depth interactive experience inside the park.
Bringing extra attention to entrance and landmark signage around park grounds
In addition to helping visitors navigate throughout the park, special attention should be given to entry signage as well. Depending on how difficult a park’s entrance is to spot from a roadway, well-marked entry points can have a huge impact on the park’s ability to attract visitors to certain points around the park. Especially important for areas that are out of the way and hard to find, investing in highly visible, well-placed entry signage is crucial to helping visitors find their way into the grounds.
Berntsen offers a wide variety of signage designed to create a safe and engaging experience for park visitors of all kinds. Whether you’re updating older trail signs, marking newly acquired trails, or planning any other park renovation project, our inventory of highly durable, easily visible signage can meet any budget.
From trail posts to traffic control and parking signs, we stock products to tackle any marking project your park requires.
For more information about our complete line of signage and marking products, visit our Parks & Recreation page or request a catalog today.
Photo credit: Bugsy