After a push at the end of last year to get some of the initial new directional/way-finding signs up, we’ve got more on the way that are designed to be functional (get you where you want to go), informational (tell you some things you might not have known) and contribute to the artsy, quirky Kent vibe that is what makes the downtown unmistakably Kent.
It may sound odd but we think that notoriously utilitarian things like trash cans, benches, and signs don’t have to be notoriously utilitarian.
Who says that signs and benches need to be wall-flowers that fade into the background and are best not heard or seen. On the contrary, we think all those little things matter and street infrastructure is another opportunity to reflect Kent’s personality.
The look of the City’s traffic signs are regulated by state and federal laws so there’s not much room to play with those but parking and directional signs are fair game and we’re seeing what we can come up with that conveys a little hometown flavor, sense of humor (where appropriate), and pleasant surprise.
If we’re serious about being a walkable, bikeable community (and we are) then we feel like we have an obligation to make the walk and ride engaging and interesting as well as safe. Why settle for less? If we get this right, you won’t have to in Kent.
We’re looking at all of the elements of signs, e.g., the colors, materials, styling and the messaging, as chances to amplify the Kent motif. Some of our signs will have a heavier duty bracketing with old fashioned lug nuts that are meant to capture a part of Kent’s past as a railroad town and later an industrial center.
The color palette is intended to be eye-catching, contemporary and (if it’s possible) cheery. Lots of things are life can be stressful so we’re making a conscious effort to find ways for your hometown to lighten your load and brighten your day.
We’re certainly not suggesting that our signs will solve everything that ails you and we’re not trying to diminish the hardships that we all face from time to time, but in between why not be a place that let’s people know that they are valued and is a conversation starter with other people or even just within our own heads.
That’s what great places do, and that’s what we aspire to be.
Here’s a look at the next round of signs that are heading to downtown Kent. You’ll see everything from banners to directional maps and my personal favorite, historic interpretive signage.