Green Lake Design System

Category: Branding, Environmental, Signage
Roles: Research, Art Direction, Illustration, Photography
Timeframe: 7 Weeks

Overview

Green Lake is a popular park in Seattle where I have spent many summer afternoons. The park features a lake for recreation, various fields and a two line bike and walking path. While the park is beloved and well-used, there is not a consistent design system in place. To increase the level of safety, fun and visual cohesion of the park I created a design system, signage and interactive sculptures.

Goals

My goals were to give Green Lake a new design system and visual identity through signage, art, and an added level of interactivity. During my research, I found stories of a legendary sea monster that used to swim around in Green Lake. This fable provided a large basis for the inspiration behind the visual identity.

Research

To understand the pain points of Green Lake’s visitors, I started with site tours of the park and took detailed notes on the existing wayfinding system. I conducted surveys with park visitors to gather insights and feedback about their experiences in the park. Our demographic of daily visitors included everything from local commuters to tourists to dog walkers and they all needed to be considered. The survey results revealed that visitors often found it challenging to navigate the park and that the current wayfinding system was confusing.

Sea & land monster for photo opportunities and docking water vehicles

Process

In order to make Green Lake safer for visitors, I designed a series of painted pathways that would lead walkers and joggers away from the busy bike lanes. Initially, I designed a set of custom icons that set the visual tone for the design system. To help visitors find their way around the park more easily, I created a thorough family of signs addressing individual safety concerns and mapping. To refresh the park's identity I implemented an interactive lake dragon sculpture that would serve as a central point of reference and a pillar in the wayfinding and design system. Additionally, I designed a mural at the famous basketball courts that would serve as an iconic backdrop for visitors taking photos.

Painted paths to indicate the direction of traffic, mode of transport & to serve as a compass for wayfinding

Solution

I have so many fond memories of Green Lake, this project meant a lot to me and these solutions felt very possible and real during the entire process. The new wayfinding system for Green Lake was a success. Visitors would be safer and more confident when navigating the park, and the park's energy was transformed by the addition of colorful and eye-catching signage, painted pathways, and interactive sculptures. This design system communicates rules while encouraging fun and interactivity. The simplicity of the system is playful while remaining professional and works across a wide range of applications. The project taught me the importance of empathy and research in the design process and how small design changes can make a significant impact on a user's experience.