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Downtown nanaimo

A brand identity and new wayfinding system for a vibrant culture rich downtown core.

environmental design

the challenge

Downtown Nanaimo’s current branding is inconsistent and confusing. With varying styles of wayfinding, a mish-mosh of wordmarks, and unassociated colours, it’s hard to understand what Downtown Nanaimo represents, let alone find your way around easily. 


Downtown Nanaimo has a thriving art culture that is meagerly represented visually along the streets. The modern inner city intimately hugs the harbour making Downtown a peaceful yet exciting district with boundless potential. But this potential is not justly represented in a way that conveys its charm to tourists and locals alike.


Downtown Nanaimo Logo

The approach

I aimed to create a new identity and wayfinding system for Downtown Nanaimo that defines its unique districts, engages pedestrians, and attracts both locals and tourists to the heart of the area. To do so, I utilized simple geometric shapes and colors to not only attract viewers but also serve as a visual tool to distinguish each district. The system's bright and eye-catching visual dominance allows users to locate it immediately.

Each district is linked to a specific color and shape, creating a universal language for users to recognize their location and directions quickly. This strategy is accessible to all ages, abilities, and languages, akin to the recent emergency exit sign transformation. The design process prioritized accessibility.


The branded signage and visuals also contribute to an overall sense of identity for Downtown Nanaimo, fostering community and encouraging pedestrian engagement. Public installations add to the pleasant and exciting experience for everyone downtown.

banner-mockup_waterfront copy.png

Neighbourhood Banner

the result

For this system specifically I designed a hard-to-miss logo and brand identity that creates a playful community identity for Downtown Nanaimo. A wayfinding system including district-specific welcome signs to let users know which district they are entering; road signs that are easy to read from a vehicle; sidewalk signage with a personalized branded map of Downtown; and a full set of branded iconography to pair with the personalized Downtown map. 

Wayfinding Signage

Public art installments were designed to create an interactive experience for the public. A re-imagination of the current ‘photo frame’ installation in Maffeo Sutton Park, as well as branded bike racks and merchandise for public sale, create a vibrant hub and association with the Downtown core. 


The tools I used in order to design and showcase these project deliverables were the Adobe Creative Suite, predominantly Illustrator and Photoshop.


Neighbourhood Indicator Signage

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