In 1803, US President Thomas Jefferson won approval from Congress for a visionary project that was to become one of American history’s greatest adventure stories. Jefferson wanted to know if Americans could journey overland to the Pacific Ocean following two rivers – the Missouri and the Columbia.
It has been over 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made their historic 8,000 mile, 28-month trip. What makes their travels even more amazing is that they did it without any signs that said, “Scenic Body of Water: This Way.”
Most travelers today do not have the time or the patience to travel the lengths that Lewis and Clark did. They just want to find their way through the airport from the parking lot to check-in. There are two primary signage issues that are critical to the success of finding your way: gateways and directional (or wayfinding) signage. Gateways introduce you to an area “welcome to our town”, “parking garage” or “shopping mall”. Directional signs help people navigate through the area, while telling them what to see or do, where amenities are located (parking, restrooms, local services).
The journey that Lewis and Clark took was a difficult undertaking. People these days are not looking for that type of challenge. Place your feet in the boots of those two trailblazers: identify the quickest route from point A to point B and post markers that show the way for those that follow.