Saturday, 9 November 2013

Robert Kent Wilson: MTB Wayfinding (Bikes)

Robert Kent Wilson was commissioned to develop an identity and wayfinding system along the Metripolitan Brand Trial (MTB). This is an 8-mile trail, running from Union Station in the District of Columbia to Silver Spring in Maryland. It is an important transportation route that provides connections to homes, work and play, meaning that a lot of people travel using this route every day.

RKW created a an identity that includes: logos, signage, wayfinding and public art. The wayfinding elements help public identify the trail. The trial is also broken down into segments, with zones being established to identify communities along the way. Different neighbourhoods are identified using specific icons, while web-enabled wayfinding was also explored in order to assist users remotely from the trail. This is shown on their website:

Seen on a phone, the path has been cut down to the most minimalistic display of information. This allows someone, quickly glancing at their phone, to be able to understand the information at a faster rate. Seen below:
The logo is simplistic, yet effective. The is immediately alerted to the logo for MBT and the same use of typeface. The colours used are contrasting - red, white, green - which means that together they offer a 'splash' that it to be taken notice of. An arrow has also been incorporated into the design to point the biker in the right direction.

Using wood as a material to form the post is also a very common method used in trails, especially woodland trails. In my opinion, it mixes the old and the new, giving the sign post an aesthetically pleasing appearance. As seen below, the wood is also usually tipped with colour (here it is red) at the top. This is a common method used in wayfinding and it alerts the viewer to a sign or trail. Sometimes, different trails can be marked with different colours, which lets you know if you are following the correct path and trail or not.
Designing for someone who is riding a bike is also an important consideration that Robert Kent Wilson would have to think about, as bikes move at a much faster pace than hikers. It was probably therefore important to keep the sign simplistic, with limited information, so that it can be read with one quick glance when someone is traveling past it with a higher speed than a walker. The sign above alerts the biker of a wayfinding sign with the strong logo and vivid colour. It also points them in the right direction, which is all it needs.

Ending Thoughts:
- The logo has been displayed throughout the designs, creating a strong brand.
- I found it interesting that wayfinding via the internet had been taken into consideration. This also included the use of smart phones, where unneeded information was cut to make the route easy to understand.
- The constrasting colours of red, green and white are vivid and work well. It means that the signs will stand out and bikers will be alerted of the wayfinding system from a distance.


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