North Vancouver Parks

Engaging people to find their way - and abide the law.

The Brief

The District of North Vancouver Parks Department engaged Ion to examine the Parks’ signage system and develop a signage manual and design standards to improve and revitalize signage and wayfinding systems. The project directive was the District of North Vancouver Parks’ community-driven philosophy and dedication to sustainable, responsive and environmentally responsible services should support and define the direction the program takes. The signage program should strengthen the park’s existing positive reputation and present a clear corporate and Department identity.

The Strategy

The District faced several challenges as it transitioned to an evolved
signage system for the Parks department. There were several existing
competing Parks Department ad hoc identities in place, as well as a multitude of different signage looks and systems which created confusion.

Working with staff and stakeholders through civic engagement workshops, Ion presented several signage systems for review. The core strategy was based around the use of a 130 mm square sign grid. All signage is developed from and uses this base unit as a means of establishing sign sizes.

Both wayfinding and bylaw signage are also based on the use of single 6x6”(15.25 cm) rough hewn cedar post as a means of mounting. This system is eco-friendly, both in manufacture and materials. It utilizes natural materials and colour palette resulting in a low impact on the visual landscape within the park system.

The Solution


Ion developed a comprehensive programme for the District of North Vancouver Parks system. Complete with a 70 page manual including typographic sign grids and templates; design of kiosk structures and corresponding graphic panels; a font of icons for use by the District staff and sign shops; and specifications for all signage in Lynn Canyon Park.

A system of different sized plates was conceived and would be prepainted on 2mm aluminum panels with the background colour based on the 130 mm grid. The specific information could then be applied via a single silkscreen pass or applied in-house using vinyl for quick, temporary signs.

We incorporated a custom font of international icons for use by Parks Department staff to ease time in the production of the signs – this font contains all the necessary icons for use within the parks system. A sense of humour is sought for some of the icons and by-law text, to continue this successful aspect of the existing signage.

In addition to the signage and wayfinding, Ion also designed and specified structural elements such as information kiosks, interpretive panels and roadside structures.

The Result

The system has provided a modern look for the wayfinding while maintaining an environmentally friendly footprint for the parks system.





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