World on Yonge is a new 4-ha (10-acre) mixed-use development just north of Toronto in Markham, Ont., with a single wayfinding and signage package visually connecting its various facilities, which include a public shopping mall, a hotel, two residential condominium towers, stores to serve residents, offices and parking lots. Toronto-based Entro and Forward Signs were commissioned by Liberty Developments to create this system, including site identification (ID) signage, interior and exterior directional signs, shopping and elevator directories, amenity signage, wide-format printed graphics and parking signs, along with standards for tenant signage.
World on Yonge是一个4公顷（10英亩）的多功能住宅小区，位于安大略省马克姆的多伦多北部，拥有单一的路径导航和标识系统，可以直观地连接各种设施，包括公共购物中心、酒店、两个住宅公寓大楼和为居民、办公室以及停车场服务的商店。Liberty Developments委托多伦多的Entro和Forward Signs设计公司为该住宅小区创建一个标识系统，包括身份识别（ID）标识、室内和室外方向标识、购物和电梯指引目录、便利设施标识、宽幅印刷装饰图形和停车标识以及租户标识使用标准。
“Forward Signs has been getting more involved in mixed-use projects, as developers are putting up more of them,” says Vincent Matthieu Gratton, an associate for Entro. “They came to us and encouraged us to approach the client, who was still looking for a design firm.”
Entro的合伙人Vincent Matthieu Gratton表示：“因为开发商现在更多地开始投入到这种多功能建筑项目中，因此前沿的标识项目也越来越多地参与进来，他们过来找到我们，并鼓励我们去接触那些仍在寻找设计公司的客户。”
They also worked with Darcon’s team of contractors and engineers to integrate signage into the built environment.
A balancing act
As an environmental graphic design (EGD) firm, Entro was tasked with developing a visual language for World on Yonge, which Forward Signs would then turn into reality.
作为一家环境平面设计（EGD）公司，Entro的任务是为World on Yonge开发一种标识视觉语言系统，然后再交由Forward Signs将其变为现实。
The client wanted to represent a modern, urban community with signs that reflected the energy and distinctive nature of the mixed-use space. Entro’s team, in turn, sought to achieve the right designs through a combination of vibrant colours, distinct patterns and elegant typography.
“We tried to keep the designs specific to each facility, but with some consistency overall,” says Gratton. “We also made sure not to ‘over-sign’ the environment because the various portions of the development are distinct from one another.”
Indeed, the project was a balancing act, where the client and many tenants needed to be represented, but in a manageable way for visitors to comprehend.
Gratton says, “ though, it was a bit like designing for a hospital, where people are looking for different services and you have to triage them through different areas. There are so many services in one place, but the people visiting are looking for just one or two of those, so there may be no logical progression to their path.”
One source of potential confusion was the development’s nomenclature. There are two shopping zones: ‘World Shops,’ a series of retailers and offices on the ground floor of the residential Parkside Towers flanking Yonge Street, intended primarily to serve condo residents and hotel guests; and ‘Shops on Yonge,’ a more public-oriented mall that is not actually on Yonge.
“We struggled with the fact the Shops on Yonge aren’t on Yonge,” says Gratton. “We needed to ensure there was enough sign visibility to draw customers through the complex to the mall.”
Setting the stage
With these needs in mind, Entro and Forward Signs built an overarching system that allowed some room for tenant-specific customization.
“Each store in the mall would have its own sign, so our strategy was to design the mall’s wayfinding signs with dark backgrounds and colourful bands to catch the eye,” says Gratton. “You have to set the stage early, because after the tenants move in, the space feels very different. The colours in these sign bands also represent the diversity of the neighbourhood. We echoed them with mosaic backgrounds on amenity signs.”
A similar colour scheme was carried through both shopping zones, but with a different EGD approach, as the Shops on Yonge feature smaller corridors, which affect sightlines, and World Shops are more open-concept with fewer retailers. Similarly, only minimalist signage was needed throughout the condo towers and hotel, but it followed a common esthetic.
Given the confined corridors of the Shops on Yonge, public restrooms can seem somewhat hidden, so Entro designed oversized ‘supergraphics’ to indicate their locations. In the food court, meanwhile, a sign was designed for installation on a bulkhead, but when Entro and Forward Signs arrived at the finished site, they realized the bulkhead included two large vents. The first attempt at the sign was taken down and redesigned as a graphic with holes in the letter ‘O’ in ‘food’ and ‘court,’ allowing air to vent through the sign without affecting its position and message.
Outside the mall, the main, circular logo sign was built using glazing panels to allow light through into a tenant’s space at the front of the building, as well as a view out to the courtyard.
One of the more significant wayfinding challenges was the parking garage, as there is only one serving the entire complex.
“It was hard to envision it beforehand,” says Gratton. “How do you get hotel guests driving through the garage to stop at the right place for the hotel parking spaces?”
Entro addressed this issue by labelling the garage’s elevator lobbies with colour-coded wide-format graphics. A master plan was also needed to indicate various groups’ specific parking space allotments, especially those for tenants.
Parking spots in an above-ground lot, meanwhile, are only intended for drop-off and pick-up visitors, with a 15-minute time limit.
Manufacturing and installation
Forward Signs built most of the signs out of aluminum and acrylic, as per Entro’s specifications.
“We wanted to use the acrylic pieces to provide a dimensional ‘magnifying glass’ effect,” says Gratton. “This gives the sign graphics more punch, given their size.”
Tactile arrows and pictograms were also added to the indoor signs. Outdoors, the opposite approach was taken, with recessed pictograms representing various services and amenities specially illuminated.
In other cases, vinyl graphics were applied directly to walls, directories—for which the client had already developed the map graphics—and other select surfaces.
The sign system was installed in two main phases. In the first, approximately one-and-a-half years ago, retail signage ‘bands’ were installed outdoors, with set parameters for retailer logos. The buildings’ addresses were displayed as pinmounted numbers illuminated by downlighting near each entrance. And wayfinding signs were integrated into the underground parking garage.
In the second phase, which wrapped up earlier this year, signs were installed in and around the hotel, the last portion of the development to be built. By this point, the mall was open and more than 80 per cent of its stores occupied by tenants.
Fulfilling a vision
As the various portions of World on Yonge opened, it began to fulfil its developers’ vision of a space for residents and visitors to live, work, shop and play.
随着World on Yonge各个部分的开放，它开始实现其开发者的愿望，为居民和游客提供生活、工作、购物和娱乐的空间。
“It will really cater to the local area, but the intent later on will be to market it beyond the community,” says Gratton. “It provides a lot of convenience in an area where residents have typically had to drive from one strip mall to another for the same range of products and services. ”
This convenience, certainly, is part of an ongoing trend in real-estate development, which Forward Signs and Entro both hope to tap into in the future.
“There’s a huge market for mixed-use development signage,” says Gratton. “A lot of the time, the real estate developers try to do it all themselves, without realizing the importance of a more specialized approach to signage. There’s a science and a process behind it.”