Duluth, MN / Superior, WI

Duluth, MN

Known as the Twin Ports, Duluth and Superior share the farthest inland port in the world and a rich maritime history that dates back to the 1850s. But the features that make the region a great port—including frontage on Lake Superior and an Interstate Highway that cuts through both cities—also cause wayfinding challenges for the more than three million people who visit the cities each year.

To address those challenges, the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee asked Corbin Design to develop an aesthetically appropriate signage system that directs motorists around the area and shares the region’s history with visitors. Corbin Design’s proposed system reflects the lake’s central location in the region’s geography and consciousness through the use of waved blue panels. On vehicular directional signs, the location of the overlapping panel edge shows the lake’s position in relation to the viewer. The use of indigenous materials like granite along with exposed rivets and other structural elements ties the system to the area’s industrial heritage.

The system reflects input from meetings with several stakeholder groups along with site visits and discussions with Department of Transportation representatives in both states.