New Look For City Signs Voted On

New Look For City Signs Voted On
By, Crystal A. Proxmire

The new look for navigational signs around Ferndale was decided on by a group of about 30 residents at a Wayfinding community input meeting on December 17th. Sketches of four different designs were hung on the walls for public voting, and the clear winner was a concept called “Radio City,” which features the retro lines and curves reminiscent of old-style movie theatres. The art-deco design was likened to The Berkley Theater or the old Radio City Theater that was one block north of 9 Mile on Woodward in the 1950s.

The Way finding project includes designs for many levels of signage throughout the city, but mainly in the Downtown area, including a grand sign in the Woodward Ave. median on 9 Mile, totem-style signs to mark major intersections, 100 new historical markers, and signs to direct people to parking, city buildings and other important features.

The quest for new signage began several years ago as the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) became a Preserve America Community in order to qualify for various development grants. A parking study done in 2006 concluded that better signage was needed to direct traffic to available parking. And for several years the DDA has been working on branding the downtown by making sure that the communications and designs used throughout the area have a consistent look and feel.

The signs will incorporate the Downtown Ferndale logo which is a D and an F in circles, or the shortened dtwn Ferndale with an arrow after the D. They will also tie in the funky Downtown Ferndale colors of green, blue and purple. “This will make Downtown Ferndale more recognizable to everyone across generations,” says DDA Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius. She said that the program will also include an online tour of Ferndale that people can view online, or print out and do in person.

The DDA won the $120,000 grant, which is going to be matched with $80,000 in DDA funds, volunteer time valued at $20,000 and a $20,000 contribution from the City of Ferndale.

At the public voting, residents debated the pros and cons of four designs. A traditional design gave a sleek, basic municipal look, while a whimsical design used a lot of swirls and circles and an illuminated design had a plain metallic look backed up with creative lighting. Designs can be viewed online at:

Among those who voted were councilperson Melanie Piana and her husband James and Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey. Ferndale resident Sam Moschelli said that at first he preferred the traditional look, “but if the Radio City one had some changes I would pick that.” Moschelli is an architect, and though he did not work on this project, he said that working with the public to get input is an important part of the design process, and that he was happy to be able to have a say in the way his city will look in the future.

Another public planning meeting is coming up on January 14, 2010 that will help the DDA determine what types of signs should be a priority as well as what changes could improve the designs. A meeting location has not yet been determined, but more information will be available at

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