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Corbin Design’s “Super Project” in Indy

Posted in Civic, Corbin Client News, Where We Work on February 21st, 2012 by Mark VanderKlipp – 1 Comment
An updated wayfinding system for Indianapolis in advance of the Superbowl.

An updated wayfinding system for Indianapolis in advance of the Superbowl.

Weeks before the Giants and Patriots teams took the field in SuperBowl XLVI, a team consisting of Jeff Frank, Senior Designer and Rick Stringer, VP of Technology, descended on Indianapolis for a week. Were they scouting the Giants? Interviewing the Patriots? Nope, they were making final adjustments to the updated system of wayfinding elements that Corbin Design had been working on since June, 2010. Designed in tandem with Robert Brengman, Principal-in Charge and Becky Douthitt, Project Manager, it brings a new generation of wayfinding logic and regulatory compliance to downtown Indy.

Back in 1999, Corbin Design completed the first large-scale civic wayfinding program in Indianapolis, taking advantage of the fact that the City Plan is divided into ‘quadrants,’ centered on the Monument Circle. Destinations and visitors locate themselves using cardinal directions for each ‘Quad,’ relative to the Monument. The system originally included pedestrian signage (that doubled as vehicular guides) and pedestrian mapping. Throughout the aughts, the IDI team was equipped to make smaller changes to the program as Indy grew and changed via their City Sign Shop. Midway through the decade, the system was updated to include Indy’s new Cultural Districts, allowing visitors to identify and experience each unique part of the city.

But at the end of the decade, federal and state guidelines for wayfinding information had changed considerably. In 2010 we were invited back for a repeat performance by our clients from Indianapolis Downtown Inc. so that the system could be upgraded to meet new MUTCD and INDOT guidelines prior to the influx of visitors for the SuperBowl.

Original signs were taken down and retrofitted with updated information

Original signs were taken down and retrofitted with updated information

The original signage elements proved to be in great shape even after 12 years, so they were ‘repurposed’: removed, stripped down to the raw metal and repainted or powder coated. The frame was then upgraded to support larger panels that hold vehicular guide information. While not required to meet all MUTCD guidelines, the overall type size on these signs was increased, and the number of destinations displayed was decreased to four.

With fewer destinations and larger type, drivers can more easily see and comprehend the messages as they approach. The logic in the system relies on the use of primary destinations as landmarks near which other destinations are located. Secondary destinations, such as restaurants and bars, can use these to provide direction: “From I-70, take Exit 79A, then follow the signs to Lucas Oil Stadium; we’re across S. Missouri Street on the west side of the stadium.”

Small pedestrian map guide directs to nearby destinations and provides distances in city blocks.

Small pedestrian map guide directs to nearby destinations and provides distances in city blocks.

Once parked or coming from transit, pedestrian guides and maps supported football fans with updated destination directories and maps – these included local amenities and businesses. Finally, we added a new sign type to the program: a pedestrian map panel located on vehicular guide posts. This provided an at-a-glance view of the location’s corresponding map and walking directions to nearby destinations. These were placed in areas where pedestrian circulation was anticipated to be heaviest, and helped visitors by suggesting the most intuitive and safest routes within the City.

With everything locked in place, there was a last-minute roster change for IDI: the stadium formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse was renamed ‘Bankers Life Fieldhouse’. Wayfinding signage required a quick change, since this venue was a key component of the SuperBowl Village. Because our game plan was flexible, we were able to account for this last-minute change, allowing Downtown Indy to be current by kickoff. As before, the Corbin team has prepared IDI to quickly manage any changes that may come their way going forward. Along with an excellent Web site created by the Indianapolis Host Committee, visitors to Indy were well-supported throughout their Superbowl Experience.

Pedestrian map kiosk, updated with new information

Pedestrian map kiosk, updated with new information

Jeff Frank shares a pre-game interview story that makes the project complete: “I was coming down to the hotel lobby when I noticed a TV crew interviewing the concierge. He was telling them about the City’s updated sign system, and what a help that will be to him as he directs new visitors to downtown destinations.”

Regardless of the outcome on the field, this was a big win for Indianapolis Downtown!

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Corbin Design, a national leader in wayfinding planning and signage design, announced Shelley Steele has been named President. Steele formerly served as vice president of marketing.

As president, Steele is primarily responsible for the vision and direction of Corbin Design as well as the internal leadership and management of the staff. In her new role, she will continue to oversee business development and marketing.

“With her knowledge of the… More...

As we develop wayfinding systems for a variety of clients, we appreciate how public engagement is critical to the design process. Here, we share two examples from recent client groups and the outcomes of those sessions:

Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans LA

We led a prototype process on the interior of this complex medical campus to test proposed logic changes and as a “proof of concept” for wayfinding tools. The exercise was designed to… More...

The FHWA has issued a clarification on the ruling it issued on January 25, 2016 terminating the Interim Approval of Clearview as an alternate font to the MUTCD. With regard to community wayfinding signage systems, the use of alternate fonts is still possible.

To summarize:

  • Projects currently in fabrication do not need to comply.
  • To the extent possible, projects currently in design should switch to the
  1. Jeff Black says:

    Great signage. Clean design, clear objectives, and based on the pictures, they look great up. Signage can make or break a city/street/area. This makes it.

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