The City of John Day

Guiding Your Path, Enhancing Your Journey

In 2022 Straw to Gold took on the task of designing a wayfinding system for the City of John Day to mark the completion of their brand-new integrated trail system. The aim was to create a full system of signage to help reduce confusion and enhance safety, accessibility, and efficient movement within the space. This project included an extensive research period, plotting the acres of land using ArcGIS software and designing a set of brand guidelines including a color scheme, specially selected fonts, a custom set of signage icons, and a complete set of signage designed just for John Day.

Our approach to this project was to begin with extensive research, collecting references, and reviewing signage examples from other towns of similar sizes and geographical make-ups. Establishing this strong foundation of research helped us understand what ideas to pursue and what to leave on the drafting room floor. With clear direction and freshly brainstormed ideas safely in hand, we went to John Day, Oregon, and walked the entire trail system in town. We took photographs and used ArcGIS software to drop pins in locations where signage was needed. After reviewing this with local representatives, we widen our lens to the downtown area, looking at how best to direct locals and visitors to the integrated trail system if they’re staying in the local hotels or stopping for gas on Main Street.

Research and Discovery

Trail Mapping with Arc GIS

Brand & Identity

Signage System Design

Wayfinding Guidelines

In our research phase, interviews with local trail users uncovered the presence of rare bird species and diverse wildlife in the region. Recognizing the importance of educating visitors, we decided to include educational signage in John Day. Additionally, discussions sparked ideas for other interactive signs, including mile markers, signs about local flora and fauna, and historical points of interest. Consequently, we developed a series of interpretive signs and integrated them into John Day's wayfinding guidelines. Our recommendations, based on these insights, were presented to the City Council. The wayfinding system we designed extended beyond the trails and included providing directions to local attractions and conveniences. These included restrooms, sports facilities, dining, the local airport, gas/ EV charging stations, hospitals, and museums. A full presentation of custom icons highlighting these areas of interest were designed and included in a 26-page Wayfinding Guideline documented which we presented to the John Day City Council at the conclusion of our project. This clear and effective guidance will ensure that the City has everything it needs for signing new buildings, parks, or developments they may open in the coming years and decades to come.