New downtown wayfinding signs coming to Sitka in late summer or early fall

Visitors to Sitka will find it easier to get around downtown when new wayfinding signs are posted in late summer or early fall.

This project is part of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka‘s new branding campaign, which will give the wayfinding signs a uniform look that matches other promotional items used by the groups (such as the visitor’s guide, ads and website).

“The Sitka Wayfinding plan is a comprehensive and unified directional sign system customized specifically for the Sitka community,” said Rachel Roy, executive director of Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka. “The plan will help visitors and residents access the walkable downtown and nearby attractions by providing walking times and directions between locations as well as reflecting our community’s character and history.”

The current wayfinding signs were temporary signs posted in the summer of 2013 that were a bit cluttered and confusing. They also didn’t include estimated walking times, which can encourage people to walk to destinations. The new signs are using walking times over distances, since most foreign visitors aren’t familiar with miles/yards and most Americans are unfamiliar with kilometers/meters. The branding and wayfinding project started in 2014, but was delayed in 2015 when the then-Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Sitka) was combined with the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

In the Sitka Brand Blueprint released in 2016 by Great Destination Strategies LLC, this is why wayfinding signage is important in the visitor industry. “Pedestrian Signage and Wayfinding: Signage systems serve vital roles. They inform, guide, and motivate travelers. They are also important in shaping the identity of a place through their style, design, colors, lettering, content and placement. Good signage can contribute significantly toward the satisfaction of visitors. The current wayfinding program will contribute significantly to the presentation of Sitka. Signs play an important role in encouraging people to spend money by effectively guiding them to desired locations.”

More information about the branding campaign can be found in the documents below.

• Sitka Brand Guideline 2016.09

• Sitka Brand Blueprint Manual 2016.09

• Sitka Wayfinding Project Dec. 13.2016 Assembly Presentation

• Sitka Wayfinding for Assembly Presentation

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Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau seeks bids for a branding services and downtown pedestrian signage project

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The Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau recently issued a request for qualifications for a branding services and pedestrian signage project for downtown Sitka.

SitkaSign2The RFQ hopes to develop a strong branding identity for Sitka while also creating strong wayfinding signage that makes it easy for tourists and locals to find key landmarks around town. The winning bidder will be required to work with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, tribal organizations, and others to make sure community needs are met.

During the summer of 2013, some temporary wayfinding signs (see photos) were posted around town to help with the tourist season. But the signs were a little confusing and meant to be replaced by the permanent signs from this project.

Improving wayfinding for walkers has been in the news a bit lately, especially after an incident a couple of years ago in Raleigh, N.C. A group trying to promote healthy walking activities, called Walk Raleigh, posted 27 unapproved guerrilla signage around town that featured approximate walking times to different attractions. The signs included walking times in an effort to encourage more people to walk. City officials didn’t like the signage and told Walk Raleigh to take down the signs, but the signs were saved after a public outcry in support of the signs.

WalkDoverNHWalkingSignNow the group behind Walk Raleigh has created a program called Walk [Your City], which has helped other communities develop similar wayfinding signs for their hometowns. Some of the Walk [Your City] signs are pretty basic, with the name of the attraction, the walking distance, and a QR code for the attraction. But some community groups, such as Walk Dover (N.H.) have added branding elements to their signs (see photo).

The City and Borough of Sitka has approved $90,000 to implement the first phases of the project. Bids are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 21 (Note: Due to an error in local advertising, the deadline has been extended to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 24) on a computer disc or USB drive to Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau, ATTN: Branding and Wayfinding RFQ, 303 Lincoln St., Suite No. 4, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

The complete RFQ is linked below. For more information, contact SCVB Director Tonia Rioux at 747-5940 or director@sitka.org. Money for this project is coming from the Sitka Marine Passenger Fee Fund, so the area covered by the project will be in the main downtown area where cruise ship passengers spend most of their time.

• Final RFQ for branding services and pedestrian signage project in Sitka, Alaska

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