Zoo Success Story

SUCCESS STORY

Signage Adds WOW to Visitor Experience at Chicago-Area Nonprofit

Not sure which way to go? Read the signs. For the two million annual visitors to one major metropolitan zoo, signs enrich the visitor experience. Spanning 216 acres, this nonprofit had a recurring problem—its world-renown reputation wasn’t always reflected in weather-beaten signage.

In addition, because human nature seems to require that people touch the signs’ You Are Here spots as they chart their courses, these markers were literally being rubbed away. Finally, rounding out the challenge was cost efficiency—a top concern shared by all nonprofits.

Working with Fuse has allowed us to provide a better experience at the zoo because the signs are so detailed and the colors of the animals are perfect. Also…these signs look much better and last longer.

— SHARON M., DIRECTOR
SIGNAGE AND GRAPHIC DESIGN

MISSION

This organization chose Fuse to address the primary issue of premature outdoor sign wear. Not even signs want to look old before their time! The Fuse wide-format team went even further, however, making critical recommendations to enhance performance and sustainability.

SOLUTION

By asking a lot of questions upfront and walking through the zoo with their designers, Fuse was able to mock up a variety of possible solutions to help the client make informed, critical decisions.

In place of signs that used a direct-to-board print process, Fuse recommended a technique the nonprofit had never heard about—print and laminate applied to a high-grade vinyl, then mounted on a resilient substrate called Sintra. For two special exhibits targeting younger children, the wide-format team suggested visual routing cable behind the signs. The effect was stunning, offering a dynamic, three-dimensional look versus a flat square sign.

RESULTS

Over two years, Fuse produced 125 installments for this cultural hub. The signs have retained their resolution and quality over longer periods, helping the nonprofit save money while enhancing visual appeal. Visitors winding their way down paths see high-end, vibrant signage that makes them feel good about their visit. What’s more, the lamination technique protects the signs from extreme weather, and the You Are Here spots can easily be wiped down, not off!

In addition to public signage, Fuse partnered with this client to enhance donor development. After all, as a major metropolitan nonprofit, donor inflows are key. Fuse produced breathtaking wall murals reflecting the organization’s worldclass brand for installation in a private space used for presentations and events targeting high-end contributors.