Golden Gates


Hunt Design

Practice Area


Golden Gates National Parks Conservancy


Project Vision

Golden Gates National Recreation Area Signage Plan

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is comprised of 19 parks and recreational and historical destinations. Each year, millions of people visit Golden Gate parks to walk, hike, swim, surf, nature-watch, and learn about local history and natural resources. Signs and interpretive information play a vital role in the public’s understanding and enjoyment of the parks.

For the first time in the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy’s 30-year history, signage standards were organized and consolidated to create a consistent and attractive format. Hunt Design developed a signage plan that includes standards for the design and content of roadway and pedestrian signs of all types, including directional, regulatory, safety, accessibility, resource protection, information, interpretation, and building and facility identification. The signage guidelines were intended to promote visitorship and improve enjoyment of the parks’ facilities, enhance safety, visually link the parks’ identities with their “experiences,” and foster improved stewardship of the land and historic sites, among other goals.

Hunt’s plan organizes trail and related signage into a logical system of components, creates guidelines for locations of signs, establishes official colors and typography guidelines, unifies sign wording, establishes a pictograph system, and describes standard installation details.

A typical post-mounted trail orientation sign displays five distinct bands of information in varying colors (top to bottom): trail name, a large phenolic resin map, regulatory information, specific terrain information, and an interpretive band containing sightseeing information. Frutiger was chosen as the sign typeface. Other signs in the system include offsite road guide signs, park and facility identification signs, in-park guide signs, traffic control signs, and regulatory signs.

Project Details
This submission received a juror award to acknowledge the attention and care that was taken to bring disparate parts and pieces together as a comprehensive whole. It is often easier to come up with new designs and solutions than it is to take a complex series of existing designs (by others)—each with its own standards and approaches—and create a whole that is better than the sum of its parts. It is evident by the thoroughness of the program that each type of sign, identification, and detail was finessed to support and facilitate the overall objective. The historic context of the locations of the signs was taken into account in developing the detailed guidelines that define materials and applications. Finally, the design sensibility was able to subtly refine the existing logos and typography to bring them to a higher quality level and distinction that will carry this historic, familiar iconography into its next generation of users.
Juror 1
Design Team

Jennifer Bressler (principal in charge), Wayne Hunt, Heather Watson, Dinnis Lee, Perry Shimoji

Design Firm

Hunt Design

Project Area

19 parks