Tompkins County Wayfinding & Interpretive Signage Plan

Tompkins County, NY

Applied Expertise

  • Wayfinding
  • Design Standards
  • Interpretive Planning
  • Public Involvement
  • Economic Development
  • Heritage and Tourism


Tompkins County, New York is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College and draws visitors from all areas of the country and from international locales. Fifty percent of the urban population is students; a high rate of turnover of residents adds to the need for an effective wayfinding system. Within the county there is a lack of consistency in physical design and frequency of signs and no conceptual connection between types of signage. The Tompkins County Wayfinding & Interpretive Signage Plan develops a family of wayfinding signage that creates a visual identity for the wayfinding system and presents a consistent, unifying graphic style to enhance the branding and image of the county.

The Plan, developed for Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca and the towns and villages, includes a comprehensive directional and interpretive signage system for automobile users, and lays the foundation of the system for pedestrians and bicyclists. It identifies the major attractions of interest to visitors and residents and concentrates proposed wayfinding signage on the gateway areas into the county and main routes that are likely to be traveled by visitors. The report includes a master design manual for the various signage types, specifications, cost estimates, signage location plans, recommendation and next steps.