interpretive sign design process

Interpretive Design & Planning

Engaging interpretive signs for parks and projects nationwide

The Watershed Company’s interpretive signage uses colorful modern illustrations and clear language to explain scientific concepts, highlight historical and cultural features, improve wayfinding, and inspire visitors to take action. We specialize in interpreting ecology of wetlands, lakes, streams, and Green Stormwater Infrastructure projects for clients nationwide. Using a collaborative process, we design interpretive materials and then coordinate with a manufacturer to ensure quality production.

Our Interpretive Sign Design Process

We can assist you at any stage of the interpretive planning and design process, from park master planning through nature trail and interpretive sign design through production and installation. For an interpretive signage project, we follow these steps:

Step 1: Interpretive Theme Development & 30% Draft Designs

We begin with theme development, working with you to identify appropriate topics and messages. Landscape architects provide site analysis to integrate outdoor interpretive panels and wayfinding locations. Our designers develop 30% draft designs or mock-ups for each panel that represent the style and identify specific topics and graphics. For every project, we create a unique, cohesive style that reflects the site's character.

Read a case study walk-through of developing an interpretive program's style on our blog.

Step 2: 65% Draft Designs of Interpretive Signs

Incorporating your feedback, our team completes research, writes text, selects photographs, and creates interpretive graphics to explain key concepts. As appropriate, the signs identify actions that users can take to help the environment at home. 65% draft designs ensure the project is expressing your message.

Step 3: 95% Proofs of Interpretive Signs

Next, text and graphics are refined and designers provide 95% completed proofs of the interpretive signage for final review. Designers prepare specifications and can assist with bidding.

Step 4: File Delivery

Graphic designers provide print-ready files directly to you and a manufacturer. (Note: we do not manufacture signs in-house.)

Our Past Interpretive Work

Please see our selected portfolio of interpretive projects.

Work with Us!

Contact us to get a personalized quote or discuss what interpretive materials would best meet your needs.

Learn interpretive design tips on our blog.

  • Interpretive material design (interpretive signs, handbooks, wayfinding, brochures, etc)
  • Environmental stewardship guides, trainings, and materials
  • Interpretive planning and site planning
  • Nature trail design
  • Theme development
  • Interpretive writing
  • Interpretive graphics
  • Custom illustration
  • Kiosks and structures
  • Production method and material consultation
Other Services:
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How can we help?

425.822.5242 or
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