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Baltimore City Gateways

Baltimore City Gateways

The City of Baltimore, 2016

For many people in Baltimore, the I-295 pylon sign (pictured above) that demarcates the city limits is more than just a metal column — it’s an icon of the regional landscape that harbors a sense of warmth, hospitality, and familiarity as it welcomes both residents and visitors passing by.  

Partnered with The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, The City of Baltimore granted us the opportunity to refurbish not only this pylon sign and two other existing gateway signs, but to create a series of brand new signs as well. Our challenge was to preserve the existing signs’ heritage while providing a refreshed and contemporary visual style that honored its legacy. 

Environments
Signage
Wayfinding
Placemaking

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When creating the new batch of signs, we determined the original sign’s visual elements should provide the thematic foundation for the new sign family.

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In addition to creating the concept for 15 brand new signs, we incorporated a consistent and refreshed design system for the three existing signs that needed to remain in their current locations at Interstate 295 North, Route 40 East, and Route 40 West.

To keep the historic integrity of these signs intact, we retained the iconic “Baltimore Orange” color and bold, geometric typography across each sign. Each variation was amplified with additional characteristics and refreshed details to distinguish them from one another.

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The I-295 pylon sign’s already unique letterforms were reinterpreted and updated by applying alternate weights and typographic adjustments. These increased the new sign’s legibility, aligned with fabrication methods, and provided a fresh perspective on the historic typography.

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The signs’ angled forms reflect the city flag’s shapes and provide easy recognition when driving past them. They are emblematic of Baltimore’s individuality and creativity, and are intended to evoke a sense of pride for our hometown. 

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Photography

Credit of Harry Connolly

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