A new, more subdued scheme for wayfinding signage in Evanston won support Wednesday night from two advisory panels.

When consultants from Urban Works, LLC presented three different design options to a joint meeting of the Transportation/Parking Committee and the Economic Development Committee in March, committee members split sharply on which of the designs they favored and sent city staff and the consultants back to the drawing board to come up with a new scheme.

The three wayfinding sign design options shown in March.

Some examples of the new designs presented Wednesday night.

Transportation/Parking Committee member Dave Galloway said the new designs were “great, much improved.”

And Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said the blue in the signs, meant to represent Lake Michigan, “isn’t a common color in our urban landscape and will really stand out.”

“I like the lake color blue a lot,” Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, added.

Aldermen Tendam and Wynne study images of the sign designs projected on a meeting room screen.

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, though, said he thought the signs looked too generic.

“This would be a fine signage approach in an industrial park. It looks very architectural, like something an architectural firm would promote. It just doesn’t give me a lot of enthusiasm, Tendam said.

Jack Weiss, of 813 Forest Ave., who designed much of the city’s existing wayfinding signage, objected to the limit of three destinations to be noted on any single new wayfinding sign — a limit imposed, the consultants said, to make sure the type was large enough to be read at a distance.

Weiss said many of his signs had to list as many as seven destinations, because there are so many to promote in Evanston.

But he praised the neutral, modern international style of the latest designs. Evanston “is a collage of everything” in its housing styles and other features, Weiss said, and none of the previous, more ornate concepts could encompass its variety.

The committees voted unanimously to have the consultants develop a final version of the design concept and a signage manual for the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. less is more

    Excellent, simplicity wins.  As the saying goes, less is more.  

    Now if they insist on the use of this design as a mandatory template for all City/School/Parks signage we may actually start to cut down on the visual blight caused by incoherent signage and slowly create a cohesive sense of place. Good job.   

  2. Any talks about getting new

    Any talks about getting new signage for our park system? These old brown painted wood signs with gold/yellow lettering look so outdated. Time to update these as well.

    1. Park signs

      A mockup of a new design for park signs was one of the items included in Wednesday night's presentation.

      Funding and timeline for rollout of new signs for parks wasn't discussed.

      — Bill

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