CMH Parks & Recreation
With every layout design our main goal is to ensure each document looks professional and is easy to follow. We believe the smallest details make the biggest difference. Below you will see how we worked with the City of Medicine Hat's Parks & Recreation department to create an easy-to-understand trail map for the community, adventurers and tourists in Medicine Hat.
The City of Medicine Hat's (CMH) Parks & Recreation department were running low on their stock of trail maps that were created in 2005. With the inability to reprint their current map they decided to take the opportunity to create a new up-to-date version. Scott Richter, Superintendent of Parks Operations came to us to develop a new map as their Corporate Communications department was unable to assist at that time.
We were over the moon with this challenge. How do you take something so intricate and whittle it down to its finest form? We used the less is more approach when it came to pitching our idea to Scott with Parks. We state the "less is more" quote by Ludwig Van der Rohe a lot perhaps, but we do believe it has great value. Our goal was to simplify content so it was easy for the reader to find exactly what they wanted. Whether it be bicycle regulations or finding a specific trail on the map - we didn't want people searching or stressed. Because nobody likes stress!
It's all in the details
When we are given a large project with a deadline in mind we get to work on a detailed timeline. For this trail map project there was a team editing/reviewing the document and a focus group to ensure we were hitting our target market. We had to account for time at the printer and work back from there. Having a set timeline helped keep us and Parks on track.
Most organizations have a style guide that you must follow to ensure brand consistency. Prior to our initial designs we were in contact with the City of Medicine Hat's Corporate Communication department and received their up-to-date Visual Identity Guidelines. We then took into account their recommended typography and graphic elements when we set up our first draft. We chose a colour scheme that was fresh, modern and fun. Colour can be extremely finicky as certain colours blend together. We wanted to ensure the colours we chose had good contrast, especially since we had very small details to work with.
Trail Map Layout
For any illustration we use Adobe Illustrator. This allows us to have multiple layers so we can easily access certain portions of the map. We received the newest map of Medicine Hat from the City's GIS department. We then went to town on drawing the map in Illustrator.
Below you will see a 12 second preview of some of the layers that were created for the map. In the final version there were 23 individual layers. This included: guides, parks, rivers, streets, trails, facility names, legend icons, region names etc...
Although the task may seem tedious, we thrive on the tiniest of details. It may have taken a solid 3 hours just to redraw the rivers for the map, but we had a good cup of coffee (or 2) to assist!
Draft & Edit
Below you will see the before and after images of the map. You will notice how we drilled down the design into its simplest form, yet still detailed enough to be functional as a trail map. We went back and forth from old map to new and tried to cut out what wasn't needed using the "less is more" concept.
The polishing/editing phase of any project takes some time. We'd love to say we had the document 100% within three drafts. In reality, it took us eight rounds of edits and two sets of proofs before we could "hit print" - which by the way is LITERALLY the most nerve-wracking and exciting moment we have.
The best day at the studio is when clients collateral is delivered (or when we go pick it up). We basically are ripping open the first box before we give the delivery person our signature. Below you will see the final Heritage Trail Network Map created for Parks & Rec. If you are trekking around the city you can pick up a copy at City Hall/Parks or the Tourism Centre. We hope it gets you through the trails with ease, gives you a few tips/tricks or that you may learn about the amazing parks that our City has to offer. We are so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful regions (perhaps we are biased). We truly feel so lucky to have been apart of highlighting this area in our community.