New York City Beaches
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
New York City Beaches
This is super graphics on a major scale. This design approach balances the worlds of information / wayfinding requirements with sophisticated and current execution. They have created a festive and iconic identity for beaches that NYC residents needed after suffering the trauma of a natural disaster. Apart from the unique and contemporary colour palette, the employment of photography, both in content and in presentation, is particularly effective. – Paul Roelofs
New York City Beaches
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in October 2012, the city’s 14 miles of beaches took the brunt of the storm’s fury. As part of a major restoration to reopen the parks in time for the 2013 summer season, we created a program of environmental graphics that welcomed New Yorkers back to their beaches.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The beaches are among New York’s most popular parks and it was imperative that they be restored in time for the 2013 summer season, both for recreation and to demonstrate the region’s recovery from Sandy. Where possible, the boardwalks damaged by Sandy have been towed back into place and repaired. Others may eventually be replaced in more sustainable forms, or not at all. A major challenge of the project was how to get people to the beach, with or without the familiar structure of the boardwalk to guide them.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We wanted the signage to capture the charm and the romance of the beach. The new identification signs each feature a photograph taken at the exact spot where the sign is located, helping to remind residents and visitors that whatever Sandy took away, the beauty of the beaches remains. The signs are accompanied by highly visible markers that have been affixed to the stanchions of the destroyed boardwalks, now repurposed as supports for a seawall. The stanchions are painted bright yellow at access points through the wall, so visitors can easily find entry and exit points up and down the beach. We also created supergraphics for a series of “pods,” modular structures that contain comfort stations, lifeguard stations and other facilities. In addition, the exteriors of four temporary concrete “islands” at Rockaway Beach have been painted with their corresponding street numbers and bright, colorful maps of the surrounding area.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Much of the previous boardwalk at Rockaway Beach was destroyed, and the ruined sections left massive stanchions that have been repurposed as supports for a seawall made of sand that will help protect the shore. New markers are affixed to bright yellow stanchions so visitors can easily locate where they are in relation to the streets on the other side of the dunes.
The beaches are their own unique experience, and we branded NYC Beaches as its own identifiable entity, endorsed with the NYC Parks logo. The identity uses new fonts and a color system of bright blue and yellow in place of the green of NYC Parks. (No one wants to see green at the beach.) Regulatory signage follows the NYC Parks system, replacing the existing jumble of signs with a cohesive set of panels on elegant railing.
The 14 miles of beaches that run along the coast of New York City are a landmark for residents and tourists alike. This part of the city took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s path, disheartening those who lived, worked, and enjoyed recreational activities along the shore. The new system of graphics is intended to reinvigorate the beaches, even during the lengthy process of restoring them to their former state. At the same time, many of the elements are designed to prepare the beaches for the future.