Good Planning & Design—Supports Visitor Communications, Part of Your Critical Infrastructure

Planned signage creates value for park visitors, maintenance staff, and organizational leadership.

Terrabilt is a design/build company. Our product line of durable, sustainable signs may be purchased as a standalone offer or combined with our design services, which also include the development of sign standards for parks, trails, and preserves.

Consistent, well-planned design enhances communication. Good signage, however, is more than a panel of words. We know from research, experience, and common sense that effective signage utilizes at-a-glance readability–proper font sizing and selection for legibility, good layouts to present easy-to-comprehend content, as well as numerous other design components that impact a sign’s being read and understood. 

Utilitarian design affects both content–words and graphics–as well as materials. Stripped to their essentials and employing good, clean design, well-planned and designed enhances communication while the use of durable, versatile, easy to maintain materials results in greater visual consistency over time and creates longer product life cycles.

The Terrabilt Sign Design & Planning Process

We create graphics that “package” a park for visitors by anticipating and accommodating their need for identification, wayfinding, and visitor information, including safety. We accomplish this by designing an attractive system of easy-to-read panels that reflect the professionalism of the park system management while going lightly on the land.

Analysis & Identifying Project Requirements

During a typical sign system design process, we photo document existing conditions, catalog the functional requirements, and determine what needs to be included in the initial design phase. We review park development plans and survey of park staff and other stakeholders. These studies help us discover additional sign functions and needs. We then present preliminary recommendations of sign functions for client review.

Subsequent Phases 

Whether we use your existing branding/park identity, update it, or create new branding/park identity, branding is linked to design. Consistent signage design creates an identity.

No two park systems are alike. Typically, our preliminary design process builds on our initial analysis. Graphic components are identified, which may include selected typefaces, selection of colors (including a referential color for safety), as well as the use of symbols and illustration, grid formats, and so forth. We develop park and trail maps and create sign designs for all sign functions, such as trailheads and trails, campgrounds, water access, day-use, athletic fields, among others. Our design process includes ongoing staff and stakeholder reviews. 

The culmination of the development process may be a Plan, a Prototype Implementation, or a Standards Manual. A Standards Manual summarizes, and catalogs recommended grids, formats, sign usage guidance, and other pertinent details.

The Benefits of Thoughtful Planning and a Cohesive Set of Designs

The implementation of a comprehensive, cohesive sign program results in more efficient use of personnel, increased value, and long-term significant savings in time and cost. These benefits apply to every stakeholder–the Visitor, the Ranger, Operations, and Park Leadership:  

The Ranger now has the support of clear and consistent signage that informs Visitors of essential information, helping to reduce time spent answering questions.

The Visitors now experiences clear, concise, and planned messaging. 

Internal Operations has a set of carefully designed sign standards to use when specifying content or augmenting postings. 

Maintenance Personnel now have guidelines on postings and a way to acquire upgrades in a timely way. 

Park Leadership The quality and consistency of the postings is a significant reflection on park management. 


No two parks are the same. Terrabilt designers become familiar with a park’s unique system. We analyze park resources and operations and identify the function of existing signage. We learn what the visitor needs to know for a safe and enjoyable park experience that protects the resource. Knowledge gained from our decades of experience designing for outdoor spaces and natural environments helps us provide clear options for your sign program design.


Terrabilt staff has technical expertise and experience; we provide program analysis, planning and graphic design services. We can also work with park staff or consultant designers selected by park agencies as requested.


The Terrabilt team surveys sites and consults with local staff to learn about present usage, requirements and challenges. Items may include:



Terrabilt develops graphic standards adaptable to all aspects of a program. Typeface, type size, color, formatting, illustration and symbols support function. These elements, anchored by a clear map, relay messages visitors need. Signage supports park functions and represents its identity.

Sign Hierarchy

Terrabilt works with clients to create signs that welcome, orient and engage a visitor with clear and effective messaging. Design, both aesthetically and functionally can create visual order. Ourmodular system of panels provides a way to unify and organize guidance, informational and instructional signs, for attractive, orderly displays that are easy to manage.


Once designed, sign program standards are documented as grids, templates or other formats. Standard designs that are used at all parks are created as “catalog” entries. Structures are specified for sign type/application. We involve park staff and provide a client with guidelines on sign use, placement, sizing, etc., to insure that programs are consistently signed at each park within a system. Our goal is to empower each park system to own planning. Terrabilt is also equipped to assist with unique applications.