An Experience of Signs in a Zoo

I visited the Brevard Zoo in Florida. While it is not as large as the NC Zoo, I like that it is easy to visit in a shorter period of time. The semi-tropical setting is pleasant too. There is a large diagram of the zoo on a sign at the entrance. It gives a good idea of how the zoo is laid out before starting the journey. I think it was a fantastic choice to frame the map with natural logs to fit into the surrounding area.

We visited the Rainforest Revealed exhibit first. This sign at the entrance is bright enough to get attention and pass along some good information about what we would encounter in the exhibit, while still set unobtrusively into the natural area beside the path.

The sloth sign above is an example of the signage in the rainforest exhibit. The animal and its title are naturally colored, while the information about it is shared on brightly colored circles. This continues the bright circle theme from the sign at the exhibit entrance. It also uses the tropical flower colors seen in a rainforest as a way to draw visitors over to read information about the sloth. I thought the designers blended the competing interests of natural setting versus the need for attention quite well.

I chose to include this sign pointing in the direction of the little zoo train. I like that all the elements of the sign are made of wood. It looks natural and shows more texture than a printed sign.

This is a sign that I enjoyed in the Australia exhibit. It provides some fun information – the names of each kangaroo next to their picture. This is nice because, while watching the kangaroos interact with nature and one another, a visitor might feel a closer connection with a particular kangaroo. Feeling a connection with nature, in this case, an animal, generally inspires one to appreciate it and want to protect it. Again, the sign is framed in wood and set against the palms, reinforcing the natural setting.

Our next stop was Expedition Africa. I like this sign because it is naturally colored and beautiful to look at. The font and pictures recall African symbols, adding to the theme of this part of the zoo. I made sure to get the sign hanging below in this picture because it calls to mind the common sight of business advertising in places one might not care to see advertisements. In this case, the county tourist council contributed some money to help make the exhibit possible. This is a positive thing, and the little sign giving credit for that is not obtrusive or garish, so it did not contribute negatively to my experience.

Visiting the zoo with this assignment in mind helped me understand how a graphic designer might have to think about ways to explore the feeling of a particular place and at the same time convey important information to a tourist. I felt that the sign designers at this zoo were successful at providing interesting and fun information while preserving the natural feel of the surroundings.