How can branding and wayfinding create a more enjoyable park experience?
As a graphic designer, I love the way that humans interact with information, especially in a physical environment. This, paired with my personal interests in wayfinding, urban design, and nature, drew me towards a “parks and public spaces” related project. I explored Auckland, conducting a large amount of field research in many different parks. Eventually, I honed in on my local community, focusing my project on Kell Park, in Albany Village. Here I rapidly discovered a variety of issues relating to the ideas of identity, longevity, and sustainability. The resulting publication hosts a variety of brand identity, information, and wayfinding assets, that aim to resolve these problems. A brief backstory, the outline of the area, and various photographic elements are also featured within the publication.
Parks are green, serene spots that are important for any urban or suburban ecosystem. They are multi-purpose locations that can be used for many activities such as relaxing, playing sports, hanging out with friends, walking, and nature observing just to name a few. Parks, especially in dense, urban environments, provide us with environmental health benefits by cleaning the air. They benefit people's mental health too by providing that small yet tangible feeling of nature where you least expect. However, even with all these benefits, I believe that parks are somewhat under-appreciated and under-utilised. Many larger parks or parks with a lot of amenities are still being used but the lesser-known ones such as Kell, are being forgotten.
As our lives become more enclosed, there is a growing gap between us and nature, even more so with the presence of COVID-19. During these times, I have noticed an influx of people at parks, but more often than not, these people are using them just because there is nothing better to do. I want parks to be special spots that serve a purpose for a large variety of people with a large variety of interests.
With this project, I aimed to create a recognisable identity for one of my local parks: Kell Park. Throughout this project, I researched the area's history and drew inspiration that would later be implemented into my design. Creating an identity like this would ideally help separate it from other Auckland parks, the majority of which are currently utilising council branding which to me, makes Auckland’s parks feel almost franchised.
I also created a signage system and an icon set for Kell Park with the aim to make the park experience a more clear and accessible one. As stated above, the signage in Kell is all in the style of Auckland Council branding, with a large portion of them being damaged, difficult to find, or frequently vandalised. Not only did I aim to redesign the content and structure of the signs, but I thought carefully about strong yet eco-friendly materials and visible locations for the placement of the signs. These factors all assist in the longevity and eventual life-cycle of the signage and their surrounding environment.