To Park or Not to Park?

Rethinking the parking sign

This is an ongoing project. Get caught up on the latest at toparkornottopark.com

I’ve gotten at least three tickets because parking signs are so confusing.

But why did it have to be so complicated? The only questions in drivers’ minds are:
1. “Can I park here?”
2. “For how long?”

My strategy was to visualize blocks of time when you can and can’t park. I kept everything else the same — the colors, the form — as I tried to be mindful of the constraints a large organization like the Department of Transportation might face for a change as seemingly small as this. My intention was to show how big a difference a small but thoughtful change could make.

Initial sketches stripping the sign down, then thinking through how to build it back up

Initial sketches on stripping the sign downand building it back up

Find out whether you can park in two simple steps

Find out whether you can park in two simple steps

In early 2014, I posted a prototype in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, to see whether it made sense to other people. People seemed to like it.

Redesign posted underneath current parking sign with feedback in scribbles

Redesign posted underneath current parking sign with scribbled feedback

It even came out in The Atlantic’s April 2014 issue. It was the first time for my work to be published in print, and by a publication I really love. I was very excited!

Published in the April 2014 issue of The Atlantic

Published in the April 2014 issue of The Atlantic

Since then, Los Angeles and Brisbane have gone on to pilot the signs, while five others are debating it in local councils.

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Paul Krekorian unveil signs in Downtown LA

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Paul Krekorian unveil signs in Downtown LA (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

See how the design and the project are evolving at toparkornottopark.com