Mudville: Designing Outdoor Signage for 
The Richardson-Jakway Historic Site
two miles south of Aurora, Iowa

funded by the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Program

In the spring semester of 2007, a class of undergraduate graphic design students in the Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa undertook the design of a set of outdoor wayfinding signs. 

These signs were intended to function as illustrated, interpretive captions for the self-guided tours of visitors to an historic 19th-Century town called Buchanan (in Buchanan County, Iowa) or Mudville. Now known as the Richardson-Jakway Historic Site, the restored area includes a pioneer house that was built in 1851; a barn, garden and surrounding farmland; and the plots on which the town once stood.

The project was initiated by the Buchanan County Conservation Board, headed by Dan Cohen, in cooperation with the Buchanan County Community Foundation, and Americorps member Tony Bengston. Funding for the signs was provided by a grant from the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area Program, under the local direction of Candy Streed. The signs were formally dedicated on May 17, 2008.

Above (top) Dan Cohen (left) and Tony Bengston at the dedication of wayfinding signs at the Richardson-Jakway Historic Site, (bottom) an installed sign on the farmstead grounds, and (right) a detailed view of one of the outdoor interpretive signs designed by UNI graphic design student Shawn Hoff. 

Click here for a panoramic photograph taken on the day of the dedication.panorama.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0
Above Graphic design student Shawn Hoff (left) with UNI professor Roy R. Behrens at the Richardson-Jakway dedication ceremony. http://www.bobolinkbooks.comshapeimage_4_link_0
As an experiential community project, the signs were designed in the following way: Each student in the class came up with proposals for the layout (typography, color and image selection) of all the signs. At the end, Dan Cohen and Tony Bengston decided which set of proposals was best suited for what they intended. They chose a set designed by Shawn Hoff, as a result of which she worked with them in addressing a number of changes.

On two other web pages are examples of proposals by the other students in the class, as well as detailed views of the complete set of Shawn Hoff’s panels.proposals.htmlfinalist.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1
a community project undertaken pro bono in 2007 by graphic design students in the department of art at the university of northern iowa Did you know? In January 1999, 
PRINT, the New York-based graphic design magazine, published the results of an anonymous nationwide judging in which it tried to identify the country’s top twenty undergraduate students in graphic design. Among the winners were students from Yale, School of Visual Arts, Cranbrook Academy, Massachusetts College of Art—and two from the University of Northern Iowa. To see other recent projects by UNI graphic design students, click on the various links on the right. 
UNI Art Department Student Work Waterloo Community Playhouse Posters 2007 FAQ About Graphic Design at UNI Waterloo Community Playhouse Posters 2008 Schwarz
Stamps finalist Downtown
Cedar Falls
Banners Carrie
Chapman Catt