Caroline Liu
Tompkins Square Park Sign System
In designing a sign system for Tompkins Square Park, my goal was to bring forth the underlying vibrancy and energy from the park's gray exterior. The park needed a unique visual identity that reflects its unconventional personality. I tried to make a functional system of readable maps, signs, and labels that would illuminate at night.

About The Park

Tompkins is a historic park located in East Village in New York City. In 1834, the park was a gift from Daniel D. Tompkins, the governor of New York, to the city of New York, under the premise that it will always remain a public space. Since then, the park has always served as a "park of the people." It has been a place to voice political dissent, most notably the Riot of 1874 and the anti-gentrification riots in the 1980's. It is unconventional park that often served those on the fringes of society such as the homeless and immigrants. It hosts quirky local events such as the Halloween Dog Costume Parade and drag festivals.


1. Tompkins uses default park signage systems and does not have a park map for visitors.

2. The park is barren and dead in the wintertime since it is composed mostly of gray cement and black iron gates. It is a stark contrast to how crowded and full of life the park is during the summer.

3. There is little to no park traffic at night. It is uninviting to walk through, could be more brightly lit, and has a reputation as being a refuge for drug users and the homeless.

Traffic Flow and Decision Points

To discern the locations of the signs for wayfinding, I researched the closest subway stops, bus stops, and major streets to the park and observed the flow of foot traffic. The most important signs should be near the left side of the park, which is where most people enter the park from since it is closest to the subway and major streets.

Popular locations are marked, including the dog run, playgrounds, and bathrooms, which should be clearly labeled and pointed out on signs and maps. The yellow spots indicate key decision making points (and where signs should go) because they are where users face multiple paths to go down, and are near major entrances.
Scheme A: New and Old

Scheme B: Bold Geometry

Scheme C: Whimsical & DIY

Final Concept

The goal is bring color and vibrancy to this unconventional park and give it the unique branding identity it deserves. I wanted to contrast the park's old history with its new urban vibe by using new and old materials. I addressed the park's functionality problems by providing readable maps, illuminating the signs at night, and adding tree identification signs on the ground, around the trees themselves.


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