Designing for Interpretive Signage: Best Practices for Increasing Attraction Power

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Interpretive signage, murals, and art installations are an important element of passive outdoor education for those who do not have formal education or knowledge about how landscapes work. The inclusion of passive education in projects has become increasingly necessary as new types of green infrastructures such as rain gardens, bioswales, and floating wetlands, are introduced to the landscape. Landscape architects can contribute to educational efforts by including interpretive signage on a site. While this practice is being implemented among many sites around the United States, it is unclear how effective these installations are in educating the public - specifically adults. This thesis project takes an in-depth look at the effectiveness of interpretive signage located around low-impact design elements and proposes a set of best practices for designing sites with interpretive signage. To support the best practices, data is being collected at two sites with methods that include surveying site occupants, field observation of occupant interactions with signage, and interviews with project designers. Initial data analysis from the pilot study shows that interpretive signage does positively affect people's views on environmentally sensitive design, but a variety of factors such as signage location and visibility of installation can affect the percentage of people who read signage.