Parking Sign Redesign
Role: Designer, Researcher, and Instigator
Collaborators: Solo project
After getting several $75+ parking tickets in LA, I wondered why parking signs had to be so confusing. You leave your spot never quite sure whether you parked correctly or not. By the time you find out, it's too late; you already got a ticket. The problem is that signs are cluttered with unnecessary information (the why) when what they need to know to take action (the what) is nowhere near clear.
At the end of the day, drivers only need to know two things:
- Can I park here?
- 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 standard colors and size—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 a small but thoughtful and strategic change could make big a difference in people's everyday lives.
The first step was to see if the concept made sense to others. I posted it under a parking sign outside my window and left a sharpie where people could write in their comments. After several days it read, "This is awesome. The Mayor should hire you." Since then, I've worked with drivers, city officials, traffic engineers, and the colorblind community to iterate on the design and to encourage adoption. Along the way, I created a colorblind council, parking sign kits, downloadable templates, a map of confusing signs, and a parking sign generator.
A study conducted in Brisbane showed up to a 60% improvement. The new signs are now in nine cities worldwide including Los Angeles, Brisbane, New Haven, and Boston. See the other locations here.
- Talk: Gel Conference
- Updates: toparkornottopark.com
- Writing: The Thinking Behind the Parking Signs