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Harbor Springs, Michigan

Harbor Springs, Michigan

Nestled on the north shore of the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan is the resort community of Harbor Springs. Known for its four season appeal, Harbor Springs boasts a thriving downtown with unique shops and dining, access to a multitude of year-round outdoor activities as well as natural amenities like the harbor, bluffs and popular Tunnel of Trees.

The primary objective of this program was to create a seamless wayfinding experience for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and boaters by connecting Harbor Springs’ three distinct districts - Bluffs, Downtown and Waterfront. 

The current Harbor Springs brand is intentionally understated and the sign design needed to be the same. The final design reflects the relaxed coastal lifestyle of Harbor Springs and coordinates with the downtown architecture. Though no true logo or branding is used in this system, the wayfinding program becomes its own brand though unique shapes, colors and graphics. In effort to keep the costs down, the design features an off-the-shelf base and commercially-available crown moulding.

To achieve final approval from the mayor and city council, photo-renderings and full-size mock-ups were displayed to give a better understanding of the signs’ sizes and how they would work within the existing streetscape.