Pittsburgh Park's Comprehensive Trail and Signage Project

Organization Name:
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
The Parks Conservancy staff used Adobe Illustrator CS3 to complete art files for nearly 250 signs that are being installed in Pittsburgh’s four regional parks. The signs are part of a $3.02 million project managed by the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh. The new signs will provide a unified sign framework while decreasing park user confusion. Directional signs will help park users with wayfinding, and new interpretive signs will provide information about park history, wildlife, and restoration projects that have improved the parks. The project was innovative because the Conservancy was able to save almost $60,000 in outsourced design fees by completing the design process in-house for the less than $100 it cost to purchase Adobe Illustrator through TechSoup. Changes could also be made to the art files internally, which saved time and helped the project meet its deadline.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
Over the years, many different sign types have been used in the regional parks, generating park user confusion over which signs are official. The dozens of different sign types created a cluttered look and gave the impression that no one entity was really in charge of maintaining and protecting the parks. This project creates a unified sign design with updated, current maps and more interpretive information. Park users will be able to gain information about park ecology, improvement projects, historical context, wildlife, and park features. The design will become familiar and convey a sense of authority. The Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh logos appear prominently on the signs, which will give park users a greater understanding of who is responsible for the parks.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
The purchase of Adobe Illustrator through TechSoup has allowed the Parks Conservancy to control the signage process from development to completion of the art files. Housing this project internally has saved designer fees of almost $60,000 and given the Conservancy greater control over a final product that will be visible in the parks for years to come. Without the use of Adobe Illustrator in-house, it would have been difficult to meet the project budget, and the scope of the sign program would likely have been reduced.