The city's signs are set for a rebranding that seeks to create consistency and clarity throughout the city's neighborhoods. Photo by Jason Ruiz.
A signage overhaul first proposed by Mayor Robert Garcia early last year is inching closer to completion. A report filed during last night’s Long Beach City Council meeting revealed that the project, which aims to rebrand the city’s entry points, business corridors and public access points, should be completed by early 2017.
Garcia brought the idea forward last April, indicating that the current signage that greets people entering the city needed a revamp to create the type of image that the city wants to convey. The effort to recast the first and last impressions the city’s signage presents resulted in a request for proposal process being initiated late last year with Selbert Perkins Design landing the gig to deliver a makeover to the city’s signs.
The design studio that has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston has undertaken and completed multiple iconic branding efforts, both nationally and regionally. It’s designed the entry signage for Los Angeles International Airport, completed multiple efforts on the University of Southern California and collaborated on the recently completed Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), just east of Angel Stadium. The group also designed signage for AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys) and has completed works on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Cliff Selbert, co-founder and landscape architect at the firm, said that the campaign will address a variety of modes of transportation, including vehicles, cycling and pedestrian traffic. In addition to helping shore up the city’s brand, Selbert said the comprehensive sign project will reduce clutter and even prevent pollution by potentially cutting down on drivers lost in the city. Above all, though, he said it will help people get to where they want to go.
“When people come here they can’t find their way,” Selbert said. “They might want to go to The Queen Mary, they might want to go to one of the other neighborhoods and they can’t find their way. So we want to develop a way-finding system.”
The program will create a template that will be adaptable and customizable for specific neighborhoods and corridors but will include common themes and vocabulary that will provide “consistent messaging” to visitors, Selbert said.
The firm is scheduled to work closely with stakeholders including business associations, advocacy groups and the community at large through the use of online surveys and public meetings as well as future presentations to the council. Design and implementation of the new signs is expected to be completed in the next seven months. An estimate for how much the signage overhaul will cost was not disclosed.
Ensuring that this project was not one that begins and ends in the downtown tourism district was a concern that was shared equally by those on the council and members of the public. Vice Mayor Rex Richardson pressed on the issue of whether the signage deliverables would be applicable to all neighborhoods in the city, an idea that was echoed by Stephanie Howard, a representative of the 4th Street Business District.
Like Richardson, Howard asked that the new signs not only direct people around the downtown corridor, but also relay the other things that different parts of the city have to offer, and which direction you’d need to travel to find them.
“This does focus a lot on downtown and we want it to be a template that reaches out so that when people get off the train it’s not ‘hey, you’re in downtown, this is how to get here,’ but ‘hey, welcome to downtown, 4th Street is that way, Bixby Knolls is that way, Belmont Shore is that way, this is how long it’s going to take to get there,’” Howard said.