PASO ROBLES — On June 5 the Paso Robles City Council approved a $120,000 Wayfinding Signage Program designed to unify the municipal brand across diverse neighborhoods.
Pierre Rademaker Design, the same San Luis Obispo-based firm and designer tasked with the same job there in 2014, has worked with a Paso Robles stakeholder group since last year on a unique design.
Community Development Director Warren Frace noted in his report to the Council that, “a significant portion of the contract costs have been paid for by Travel Paso.”
That group paid for by local businesses. The Planning Commision recommended, at a May 8 meeting, that some finishing touches be added to make sure the signs reflected the Paso Robles character, leading to additional meetings of the City-formed “Wayfinding Stakeholder Group,” with representatives for business, tourism, recreation, and the downtown.
Among their tasks, noted Rademaker, was determining which private enterprises could qualify for a spot on the signs, “no Starbucks, nothing commercial.”
Brand names, partially because such businesses move frequently and would negate the expense the of the effort, do not appear.
“We even had some discussion over what would happen if the Pioneer Museum moves,” he said, the group, he added, “met five times and I had a great experience with the committee. I think everyone really enjoyed it. The cap design on top of signs was one of the last decisions to take shape. It’s based on original architecture of the Hot Spring building, which was more prominent in older photographs before it was remodeled. Some of you many remember that as the old Telegram-Tribune building in semi-recent history.”
Council member John Hamon questioned Rademaker on his San Luis Obispo connection, noting he felt the size and placement of the markers around the downtown of the County’s namesake were “overwhelming.”
Rademaker responded that much of the size and height requirements are stipulated by Federal guidelines, similarly there is only so much that can be fit in with certain fonts and arrows if drivers are expected to see the information.
The signs specifically designed for vehicle traffic only are reflective, with the back the same color as the front, for attractiveness, but the all of the signs, including the double sided pedestrian directories have the Mission / Western Style top with the City Seal in the center of the arch. Approximately 50 of various types are recommended.
“Our map shows a lot of spots where people can get confused getting around town going all the way past the water park on [Highway 46],” Rademaker said, “We looked at all sorts of emblems and graphics, trees and acorns were considered, but we ended up back with city emblem that’s been used on other buildings...we all like it as a way of saying, ‘even her on 46 East that you’re still in Paso.”
Not part of the Wayfinding Program’s original remit, guidelines for local service club monument signs were also developed, with approved locations on Spring Street at Niblick Road, 24th Street at Black Oak Drive, and Spring Street at 36th Street.
Those monuments would be the responsibility of clubs to manufacture and maintain with regular renewal.