I design a variety of signs, banners and displays, but my favorites are interpretive signs for parks or conservation areas, partly because of their more permanent nature and partly because I always learn something new professionally and just as a point of interest.
This sign will stand in a section of a newly-developed park in North Fayette, which was developed on the site of a reclaimed strip mine. It will be 48″ wide and 24″ high at its widest point in the center, and will stand on two posts angled to be read at a 30-degree angle from both a standing and sitting position, as the Grove is fully accessible.
Action for Change Today, a grass-roots citizen organization working to help with community development and activities, is partnering with North Fayette Township to establish a Liberty Tree Grove at the park. The Grove will honor local military service men and women by planting an historical tree for each of seven branches of the military and include a path, a large “wayside” interpretive sign and two benches. The benches will be placed in honor of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion posts.
The saplings have already been planted and were selected from American Forests’ Historic Tree Nursery. They come with certificates of authenticity, stating that the seedling really did originate from the “Gettysburg Honey Locust”.
I believe the sign is large enough in this post so that you can read both the text on the left about the origin of the Liberty Tree, and on the right to see which tree honors which branch of service.
I learned a lot about Liberty Trees when I began working on this sign, and about the use of trees as physical, social and historical markers in general (see also Taking the Measure of a Tree, about a core boring of a 270-year-old tree and the Whiskey Rebellion).
I also learned that logos for the branches of our military service can only be used with permission of the correct person in that branch at the Department of Defense, and there is a specific logo to be used for applications like this. I’ve been a designer for 30 years and never knew this, and I’m sure many others who slap the Marines logo or Army logo or any other on a flyer or brochure for a community project never know either. I thank my contact from ACT for undertaking the contact and affirmation for each of the seven logos!
Signs for individual trees and the grove itself
In addition to the main sign, I designed a series of smaller 14″ x 18″ complementary signs digitally printed on aluminum and mounted at an angle on posts. One was an overall sign explaining what the Liberty Tree Grove signified and why trees were chosen as dedications, and seven marker signs, one for each of the trees.
I created the header out of two photos I’d taken at my home town’s Memorial Day Parade, Carnegie PA, softening and blending them together (I have more detail on this below). The background is a scan of a piece of parchment paper.
And a sample sign for an individual tree.
Just for detail as well, below is the header for these signs without any text so that you can see the photos. Our fire department hangs a huge flag over Main Street for the parade, and I have a great time every year photographing this flag as it hangs or waves in whatever weather we happen to have on the day of the parade; I have used these flag images dozens of times in other designs. The image of the veterans is a group of veterans from our local VFW, one from each of the conflicts represented and from different branches of the military.