New Wayfinding System Directs Locals and Visitors

Doing a complete overhaul of downtown signage can be a lengthy-but-worthwhile process, as has been the case in Knoxville, TN.

The city started gathering public input for its comprehensive wayfinding program in 2009, and hopes to see the project completed this year.

“Our wayfinding program was really intended to do three things,” says Anne Wallace, the city’s project manager. “The most intuitive is that it guide both residents and visitors to our various destinations.

“Second, it will give an identity and a brand to downtown Knoxville, so that when people see those signs and images, it helps create a sense of place for them.

“And third, the program is meant to build economic development. What we have found in our research and in working with folks who do wayfinding all over the country, is that wayfinding signage is a way to help people find additional points of interest that they may not have been aware of so that they will extend their stay and spend more time, and more money.”

While not a primary benefit, Wallace says, another substantial perk of the program is that, “we have a lot of visual clutter from signs put up piecemeal over the decades to try to direct people to our various resources. This program will create a cohesive format for signage, and we are taking out about 400 signs and putting in only about 250.”

The full article appeared in our print edition. To always get the full story, read Downtown Idea Exchange.

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