Wheaton, IL

Cantigny Park

Cantigny Park is the 500-acre former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It has been reimagined as a sprawling park featuring the First Division Museum, the Robert R. McCormick Museum, beautiful botanical gardens, and nearly 3 miles of walking trails. Throughout the year, the park hosts numerous events and thousands of visitors. As part of Project New Leaf, the park’s six-year revitalization plan, Corbin Design created a new sign system featuring interpretive graphics and a fresh map design to enhance the park aesthetic and promote exploration.

Connecting the Visitor Center, McCormick House, and First Division Museum were vital as the site’s major landmarks. Because there is not always a straight line of sight between the buildings, a perception existed that they were far away from each other. Within this core routing, we layered in directional information to encourage exploration and used signs to serve as breadcrumbs to discover other attractions.

Design elements highlighted both the nature and history of the park. We worked with a landscape architect throughout the project to keep the overall aesthetic in mind and seamlessly merge the wayfinding signs into the well-groomed environment. Parking lot signage outside the First Division Museum reflects the 1st Infantry Division’s famous insignia. Many signs also feature branches with oak leaves on the back, helping to blend the signs into the environment and tie in the branding of the park. Fingerpost signs inspired by historic signs frequently found in European villages were designed to include universal symbols for amenities and estimated walking time to reach the destination. While the signs feature historic inspiration, they are built using modern techniques that will withstand the year-round conditions of the Chicago area.