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St. Lawrence Market

https://www.sld.com/our-work/case-study/st-lawrence-market-place-branding-wayfinding/

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PROJECT

St. Lawrence Market Wayfinding

CLIENT

St. Lawrence Market

LAUNCH DATE

January, 2012

Shikatani Lacroix was tasked with designing a navigation system that respects and encourages the exploratory nature of the multi-level building, which contains over 120 specialty vendors, while still providing effective direction to those who require it.

Background

Shikatani Lacroix created:
3

initial
signage ideas

6

pictographs

St. Lawrence Market:

1803

year the market
first opened

#1

top food market in the
world by National Geographic

120

vendors, merchants
& artisans

Shikatani Lacroix was commissioned to design a cohesive wayfinding program for the St. Lawrence Market. The St. Lawrence Market is a historic landmark in the heart of downtown Toronto that has been a meeting place for farmers, artisans and city dwellers for more than 200 hundred years. Today, the St. Lawrence Market Complex is comprised of three main buildings, each with a distinct purpose: The South Market, the North Market and St. Lawrence Hall. The Market is home to extraordinary food and passionate shopkeepers. There are a total of 120 vendors, merchants and artisans who bring the Market to life.

The Challenge

Shikatani Lacroix was tasked with designing a navigation system that respects and encourages the exploratory nature of the multi-level building, which contains over 120 specialty vendors, while still providing effective direction to those who require it.

The Market’s original wayfinding system was old and tattered-looking. The signage was busy and frenetic, leaving many of visitors confused and overwhelmed when seeking direction. Shikatani was commissioned to redesign the signage to ensure both clarity and that the culture of the Market was authentically represented.

Ensure clarity and maintain the authentic culture of the Market

We started by evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement of the existing wayfinding system

Strategic Approach

Define

Shikatani Lacroix was commissioned to redesign the signage to ensure both clarity and that the culture of the Market was authentically represented.

Some people want to aimlessly wander the Market while others seek out specific vendors. Therefore, the new wayfinding system had to accommodate both types of visitors. It had to be informative and clear for those who required direction, while simultaneously being subtle and unobtrusive for those who do not want to be told where to go.

Design

Shikatani Lacroix designed an interconnected map and directory system in the style of street post signage, echoing the city street names that surround the Market. Signage is well defined and openly visible to the public and provides direction for those navigating their way throughout the Market.

The street posts are topped with silhouette shapes that represent the various sections in the Market, such as a rooster, fish, and flower. The pictographs not only infuse personality into the signage system, they add another layer of information that breaks through the visual clutter in the bustling market.

Shikatani Lacroix created image boards offering three different ideas for possible signage. The team also completed two concepts of designs with initial location plans to demonstrate where signage needed to go to be efficient and what that signage should look like to be effective.

Shikatani Lacroix completed art and fabrication specifications and worked with the signage vendor to ensure that it was up to the client’s standards. The team showed the client a series of prototypes and got the final materials for approval. Once all of the details were decided upon, Shikatani Lacroix rolled it out into a final design.

Deliver

The comprehensive system, which meets ODA accessibility standards, is perfectly tailored to the sights and sounds of the market. Intuitively constructed, strategically branded and beautifully designed, the new wayfinding system not only heightens the visitor’s experience, it elevates the St. Lawrence Market as one of the top destinations in Toronto.

The Market is now ranked the world’s best food market by National Geographic.

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