Chicago Streetscape Signage

Merit Award

Chicago Streetscape Signage Standards Manual.

When Two Twelve was first asked to design standards for public signs on all Chicago streets, the city suffered from having no guidelines for the placement of signs, and no useful design standards. As a result, the streetscape had become confused, unappealing and difficult to navigate.

The designers were challenged to reduce visual clutter, to improve visibility and understanding of directional signs and to create a welcoming environment. In addition, they had to streamline the sign production process by creating modifiable templates and specifying uniform materials. The manual was conceived as a working guide for the city as it implements and maintains the new signage standards. The manual and the accompanying compact disc document all of the design features of the system, beginning with an overview of the city's sign types and ending with location and installation guidelines.

Jury Comments: 

"The jury found this to be an ambitious and well-conceived effort to attack the plethora of discordant graphics that make wayfinding in and use of American cities so difficult. The jury in particular praised the fact that the system of graphics seemed all-inclusive, dealing with everything from snow removal signs to transit schedules and stops. All graphics were crisp and clear. The mounting systems were carefully thought out so as to be adaptable to a variety of existing and new conditions. For the new applications, the thinner black mounting pole proposed was a welcome contrast to the ubiquitous galvanized metal pipes seen throughout America. If fully implemented, this program will give the City of Chicago the most integrated and coherent graphics of any American city."

Design Firm: 

Two Twelve Harakawa


City of Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development

Location City: 

Chicago, Illinois

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Erik Kvalsvik

Design Team: 

David Gibson (Principal in Charge), Jill Ayers, Patrick Connolly, Jean Lambertus


TYLinn International Bascor


ACME-Wiley Corp., City of Chicago Sign Shop

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