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Sign of the times

Navigating signage in the environment requires a clear understanding between a sign that indicates directions, compared with a sign that gives the viewer a deeper appreciation of the context of the environment. So how do you ensure your sign is aiding understanding, not just directing people to the visitor centre?

Lost and found

If people are disoriented when they encounter an interpretive sign, they will be unlikely to read it. Interpretation signs are a value-add to aid visitor experience that will only work effectively when considered as part of an overall signage strategy. Being able to identify meaningful opportunities to tell stories about the experience of the environment requires an inclusive approach. Research is vital and often requires investigation into historical events, pertinent facts affecting the site today and bringing all of this information together into a cohesive and distinct piece of visual communication.

Form follows function

Creating beautiful, interpretative signage that guides visitors through experiences that have impacted the site is an art form that blends the sign’s form with robust communication design. Fluid has created a wide range of interpretative signage systems that seek to elevate the experience and connect the viewer to the place.

Carbon sink for a sustainable future

Phoenix Reserve is a habitat for native flora and fauna and, importantly, a carbon sink to partly offset the council’s greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainability is a key theme in the interpretation project and strongly informs the design. The earthy green palette and naturalistic illustrations form the basis of the signage aesthetic, ensuring a seamless blend into the native surrounds. The interpretive panels use reclaimed timbers paired with solid industrial steel, reflective of the area’s past life as an important site for Geelong’s wool industry.

Community gains recreational space

Fluid was commissioned to complete the interpretative and wayfinding signage system that provides information about the reservoir and the biodiverse species that inhabit the region. Painkalac Reservoir is managed by Barwon Water and, until recently, supplied water to the nearby towns of Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven. Taken out of service in 2016, the aim was to repurpose the reservoir and surrounding area to make it a recreational space for the community. It’s a great spot to see native flora and fauna, walk, cycle, ride a horse and fish the waters for native estuary perch, introduced to the water supply in 2017. Our signage solution applies an orange and black colour palette printed on a robust long lasting aluminium substrate. Using timber totems cut into interesting geometric forms, we created primary and secondary signage applications to make navigating the reservoir easy, enjoyable and engaging.

A beacon of knowledge

Fluid was commissioned to design the interpretive signage at Split Point below the historic Aireys Inlet Lighthouse. With information about passing whales, the surrounding seabed, sea creatures in nearby rock pools, weather systems and the geology of the region, it gives viewers insight into the changing landscape. With views to Eagle Rock to the east and the Otway National Park in the west, the signs display a sympathetic character inspired by the views and the topography of the surrounding landscape.

Honouring 100 years of service

To commemorate 100 years of the Australian Red Cross in Torquay, Fluid was commissioned to design a commemorative plaque which features a range of historic images and facts about the Red Cross in the community, from past to present. Inspired by images of propaganda posters from the Second World War, the panel features photos from a bygone era and combine these with reflective messages of community and solidarity.

World famous Bells

The sandstone entrance sign at the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve was designed by Fluid in consultation with the Surfcoast Shire Council, the Bells Beach Community Advisory Committee, and representatives from the local Indigenous community. It aims to reflect the natural environment of the reserve using site-specific materials. Collaboration was vital to achieve the project’s aim, which needed to meet stakeholders’ concerns and desires for the site and ensure a result we could all be proud of for the world famous landmark.

Victoria’s favourite walk

The Surf Coast Walk is a 44km walking and cycling track stretching from Point Impossible in the east to the town of Fairhaven on the Great Ocean Road in the west. The trail features directional wayfinding and interpretive signage to help users navigate the trail and learn about the various significant places of interest along the way. It was officially opened by the Member for Western Victoria, David O’Brien MLC, before triple Olympic medallist walker Jared Tallent took the first official steps on the track. Mr Davies said that locals and visitors alike would benefit from the track, which puts a stunning and unique coastal environment within easy reach.

Surf Coast place signs

Surf Coast Shire Council commissioned Fluid to complete an update of the brand’s visual identity and then apply this look to a wide range of town entrances, parks, reserves and facility signs around the shire that extends from Geelong in the north to Barwon Heads in the east and Lorne in the west. The signage system applies functional and aesthetic considerations to create a signage system that is easy to navigate whilst being visually engaging as town boundary markers for the major town entrance signs.

Queens Park Lorne

Fluid has completed an extensive signage commission in and around Lorne that includes wayfinding and interpretative sign panels to drive awareness of a range of culturally significant factors as well as the biodiversity of the region’s flora and fauna.

On the sheep’s back

The National Wool Museum (NWM) is a national museum that celebrates cultural and significant events in the Greater Geelong region. It’s the only museum dedicated to the important role wool played in shaping the country. The museum champions a wide range of cultural events to keep the community engaged, including hosting the collection of winning wildlife photography sourced from entries throughout the world. Fluid’s creative solution for a temporary exhibition – quite literally out-of-the-box – displays the works ‘larger than life’ on three giant, oblong photo cubes positioned in prominent display in the Geelong Botanic Gardens. These larger than life foursided portraits take the viewer on a tour of the weird and wonderful species that inhabit Planet Earth.