CITY OF COLUMBIA
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
A New Community Wayfinding Program for South Carolina's Capitol City.
THE DISTRICT MODEL
Columbia is a city of Districts, and promoting and recognizing these Districts was a key element of the new program. Extensive planning was required to design a branded system that clearly distinguishes each District; promotes the City and it’s assets; and seamlessly directs visitor’s to important public and historical destinations. The program’s common layouts and sign forms are personalized for each District through the use of District-specific accent colors and the prominent display of the District’s name. Another important decision was to use the backs of all the sign panels as an ‘urban gallery’ that promotes the diverse character of Columbia, its Districts, attractions and ambiance. In the final program, over 100 carefully located and curated images—including several photographs shot by Yazi—are featured on over 200 signs throughout the City.
BEATING THE CLOCK
The City had a goal of completing the program before the NCAA Basketball Tournament arrived in Columbia in mid-March of 2019. From start to finish the new program was planned, designed, fabricated and installed in just under 18 months. We achieved this goal by establishing clear milestones, and with great communication and assistance from all parties involved. Throughout the process we held regular meetings, presentations, and site visits with the Experience Columbia team, City officials, district stakeholders and SCDOT to keep everyone up-to-date and on schedule. We were fortunate to have a local sign fabricator Colite on board from the very beginning, and they were an active participant in the design and planning process, and proud to contribute to the evolution of this capital city.
The sign panels are designed to meet SCDOT standards, and their modular format makes them easier to update or replace. Careful consideration was given to the size of the directional text, and the size of the sign panels, to ensure optimal legibility. With the help of onsite prototyping, we determined that using two different sizes of directional signs and text—influenced by the number of lanes and traffic speed of the roadway—was the best solution. Our final deliverable was a comprehensive guideline for implementing the approved wayfinding system and its design elements. We worked extensively
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