Portland State University graphic design student Jeffery Frankenhauser loves his city's parks. So much that his thesis project relies primarily on their existence. To illustrate his love of Portland's 279 municipal parks, Frankenhauser is creating a unique "brand" for each spot, drawing from each park's history and individual culture to make it fit. Here are a few of my favorites:
I asked Frankenhauser to lay out the project and its future for me in a short Q & A:
MERCURY:Why do you think city parks need a new way of being distinguished?
FRANKENHAUSER: People take pride in the parks they frequent. Making a nice mark that can attempt to capture the unique spirit of each park can give people something to easily identify with, in the same way that we use other brands to identify ourselves.
I understand this is for a thesis project, but are you planning on presenting the idea to the city's Parks and Rec?
I definitely am planning on starting a dialogue with the Parks Department. I've already heard from quite a few people who said that they'd love to see these logos on shirts, postcards, or art prints, and I would love to work with the Parks Department on the creation and distribution of those.
How do you match the typography and graphics to the tone of a park? What kind of research goes into it?
Before I start sketching for a park, I always do a little research into the park's history, to see if there is anything significant that I can use in shaping the logo. Irving Park is named after Captain William Irving, a pioneer of steamboat travel, which led me to create something with a nautical theme. But I also try and work in any notable physical attributes of the park (like Brooklyn park's steep hill, Columbia Park's dense & shadowy trees, or the bluffs of Overlook Park) or work in cultural influences of the surrounding areas (like reflecting the bold, colorful art scene in the Alberta Park logo, or using Colonel Summers' mustache for the hip Belmont-area park).