Guerrilla wayfinding signage . . . yes, that’s actually a thing. Recently a group called CityFabric lead by Matt Tomasulo started a guerrilla wayfinding sign project called “Walk [Your City]” on the idea-funding site, Kickstarter. Tomasulo designed these stylish but simple signs to get more people to start walking and biking in their cities. The idea is that many people don’t walk to their destinations because they believe something is too far away and it would better to drive there. The Walk [Your City] project tries to beat this misconception by posting signs that have a sort of time map on it. To use a Nashville example, it might say “It is a 6 minute walk to The Ryman Auditorium.” Or, even better than saying a specific company or venue, they encourage the signmakers to suggest things like "It is a 3 minute walk to fresh baked bread." The project has had the most success in North Carolina (particularly Raleigh, NC, which is Matt Tomasulo's hometown) and in the southwestern states.
Here are a couple of sample directional signs I whipped up for kicks and giggles.
This is the walking distance between the Bridgestone Arena and the Johnny Cash Museum in Downtown Nashville.
This is the biking distance from Vanderbilt University to the local bookstore BookManBookWoman Books in Nashville
Here's how it works:
You go to walkyourcity.org and click on "make signs." This will lead you to a page linked to Google Maps where you can either type in a specific address or just a city in general.
You can drag the little sign icon to a specific location and then click on the "continue" button. This will add a star to the page which you can drag to your final destination to create a route.
Here I've made a walking route from the Tennessee Supreme Court House to Bicential State Park. It tells me at the top of the map that it's 8 minutes away and the sidebar allows me to choose whether I want it to be a walking or biking route. The next page allows you to choose which way the arrow is pointing.
Next you can choose whether your signs will be in English or Spanish and the text that will go on the sign.
Finally, you pick the color of the sign based on your destination. Since this sign's destination was a park I picked "public space."
Voila! We have now created a sign. It automatically includes a QR code that provides Google Map walking or biking directions when scanned, which is pretty cool.
The signs are not free to download but they can be purchased from walkyourcity.org. If you buy 23 signs or under they cost $17 each; after that the signs will cost $15 a pop. Still, they will provide doorstep delivery and two industrial strength zip ties for every sign that you buy.
We love the idea of people using signs in their communities for good causes! Have another idea of how to creatively use signs in the Greater Nashville community? Let us know about it!