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The City of Clayton is the county seat of St. Louis, Missouri bordering the City of St. Louis. Its downtown business district is one of the fastest growing in the region with a diverse population of local residents and professionals; and attracts many visitors to its government center and area restaurants and shops. People travel to and around Clayton by car despite it being well-connected by public transport and incredibly walkable. In an effort to change this, the City of Clayton commissioned us to create a pedestrian and vehicular wayfinding program that makes it easy to navigate the city on foot and encourages people to park upon arrival, ultimately reducing road congestion.

We carried out a wayfinding study and led a series of public consultations to identify issues. We found that even long-time residents who knew the city well still relied heavily on their cars out of habit, but also because of a misconception about the time it takes to walk from one place to another. We developed a comprehensive signage system that includes pedestrian fingerposts with times to key places, kiosks with pedestrian maps, vehicular directionals and parking identification.

While downtown Clayton has many contemporary skyscrapers, the streetscape has a traditional quality with brick pavings and cast-iron lampposts. Our intent was to create a modern signage system that could sit within this context with restraint – to have a contemporary, yet timeless aesthetic that is highly visible but with a subtle presence. We designed the full system in black, powder-coated steel, with pedestrian signage accented with red-orange caps. Each kiosk includes You-Are-Here pedestrian maps, created for all unique locations. Our team carried out all aspects of the project, including wayfinding, map design and industrial design. The final system included over 100 signs installed across the full extent of Clayton’s downtown.