National Zoo Washington, USA
by Wyman & Cannan
Wyman & Cannan designed the wayfinding system for the National Zoo in Washington, DC and the signs were created as vertical stacks of animal icons called ‘totems’.
Carved wooden totem poles are an ancient tradition of the Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. They illustrate current events and mythological stories, often incorporating animals such as eagles, ravens, bears, wolves and whales.
The totem is an important cultural reference for the design of the zoo wayfinding system and vertical stacking is a practical technique for designing signage.
Visual icons which cross language barriers can be larger without taking up a lot of ground space, and they are easily spotted in the hilly terrain of the zoo.
The Hippo is one of 36 animal icons and it was the most difficult icon to design. Each of the icons focuses on the side view of an animal’s head. Animals such as the Elephant, the Rhino and the Crowned Crane have side views that are easy to recognize. Animals such as the Tiger, the Panda, and the Zebra have graphic patterns that help identify them. The clear characteristics of these animals helped in the design of their icons.
Norwich University College of the Arts
is currently hosting ‘You Are Here’
an exhibition of Lance Wyman’s work.
The show will run until June 9, 2012.
More info here.
You can find more info on this project here.
Images courtesy of
Lance Wyman & Bill Cannan