Loudoun Parks and Rec

Supporting Loudoun County

parks logo designAs a small company, there is not much more rewarding than providing design services to local towns and counties. Wicked Design has supported several, including the Town of Round Hill, Purcellville, Bluemont, and Loudoun County. Lately, we’ve been supporting the Loudoun County Parks and Recreation department, and could not be more excited.

This week we finalized the new Loudoun Parks logo, including versions for Loudoun Parks including Franklin Park, Claude Moore Park, James A. Bolen Park, Banshee Reeks Park. Their motto is Discover Your Outdoors, and they promote that notion daily for the benefit of us all.

Before designing the Loudoun Parks logo, we completed a map illustration of Franklin Park, and their Disc Golf map, both located in Purcellville, Virginia. These documents are printed in classic map format, and come folded.


printed county map

Franklin Park Map

Both of our recent map design projects were based upon the excellent geography data provided to us by Loudoun County. If you weren’t aware, Loudoun County has planes fly over every foot of the county annually, to record land changes over time. Therefore, their data is always fresh (which otherwise can wreak havoc on a project otherwise.

The first task was to strip all of the data from the received map art that was not needed. The digital drawing contained hundreds of layers that were not needed for the map, and some represented land boundaries that extended well beyond the visual focus. The layers names were not much help, so testing was required to find out which were needed, and which were not. In addition, Loudoun County had dozens of layers representing things were not required for this project. They related to operational and maintenance items that also had to be turned off or deleted.

With the desired layers then in order, we then had to visually transform them into something that was both pleasing to the eye, and able to communicate specific messaging. For instance, activity symbols were required to be a specific brown color, the water blue, and the trails represented using dashed lines. The many park features also had to highlight in a meaningful way, including: ball fields, hiking trail, arts center, pool, disc golf, equestrian trails, and more. In the end, all of the important park features needed to fit within the folded, printed map which overall measures 11” x 17”. The map shape had to be “juggled” within the given boundaries to provide the largest view of the details as possible.

A wide variety of software tools were use during the design process. They included vector based programs, and bitmap programs such as Photoshop. Often, work would be shuttled between programs to obtain a particular desired digital effect. The use of layers was critical for this project. Given that there were nearly one hundred types of digital components (water, trails, roads, parking, buildings, etc.) within the park map design, being able to address one, or all, was important in terms of efficiency. For example, If you needed to make all of the water symbols a darker shade of blue, having to locate them without the use of layers would have been nearly impossible.

Therefore, setting up a named, hierarchical layer system at the beginning of a complex design project is a critical skill. Doing so can literally save dozens of project hours, if not more.

Franklin Park Disc Golf Map

The finished Disc Golf map is a sub-set of the Franklin Park map. However, it is so intertwined with the park at large, that the map design is nearly as big as the park map itself. The printed map measures 8 ½” by 11”, so it’s smaller then the part map. Therefore a bit more design complexity was involved here: more symbols and less space. The Disc Golf map includes dozens of icons that each represents holes numbers, baskets, tees, fairways, direction, and locations.

The main challenge with this graphic designcounty map project was effectively communicating all of the symbols within a smaller space. It was also taken into account that golfers will be carrying this map as they moved from hole to hole. The outside flap features a scoring chart for each tee type, and basket. The chart also features distances to the holes. Therefore, this map is a critical component to the game itself, it would be carried about by the players as a game proceeds. This introduces a peculiar requirement, as the document becomes a part of the game.

In the end, all graphic design and website projects come with their own style of requirements. Producing an effective document for a business or organization must successfully meet each of them in order to have a successful project. It is for these reasons that you should hire an experience designer to handle your needs. A less experienced firm could cost twice as much in the end, even with a lower hourly rate. Paying for experience, with a history of successful projects, consistently offers greater value and efficiency, and quality.

PRCS Loudoun Parks Logo


loudoun parks designLoudoun Parks, a sub-group of Loudoun Parks and Recreation, needed a logo to help brand their various efforts in Loudoun County. They hired Wicked Design to develop several approaches for consideration of this new branding effort. We provided dozens of various logo designs for their review. All of these graphic design efforts focused on nature subject matter, such as trees, leaves, hiking, maps, logs, county shapes, characters engaged in activity, and more. It was our goal to provide a wide variety of approaches so that the best brand strategy could be chosen.

The challenge in supporting a group or committee is that many individuals are involved in the decision making process. Everyone has their own opinion and ideas regarding the best approach. In this case, Loudoun County is made up of five parks, each with their own staff and directives.

Luckily for us, our terrific point-of-contact was able to boil down the member input into simple task lists, which kept Wicked Design in the position of designing and not playing referee. We will normally request one person to communicate design changes for the sole purpose of creating efficiency in the process.

They organization did present simple goals leaf designup front: They wanted a design that was simple, clean, and a brand that would translate across the department’s goals and missions. They selected the branch shape for various reasons, but mainly because it conveyed nature without thinking about it. The simple branch and leaves shape serves as an upbeat message with nature in mind. Secretly (don’t tell a sole), each of the five leaves represents a park within the organizations. As mentioned above, there are currently five parks in Loudoun County. So while it’s not The DaVinci Code with its big hidden messages, we did help to create a tiny bit of hidden messaging here in our backyard.

Each of the parks will have their own version of the selected logo design. They will all feature the name of their respective park below their own individual logos. Franklin Park will appear below the Frank Park version, and so on. Each park will also feature their own branded shirts, and other items, using their own versions of the logo.

In Closing

As a small design company located in the Northern Virginia area, we are thrilled to be supporting Loudoun County with graphic design services. Now in our eight year of business, we have faithfully supported the county for many years. Through the process of successful execution, and a commitment to quality service, we have earned the trust of our local government.

To us, it’s reassurance that we’re on the right path of delivering high quality design services at every turn. Whether it’s a website development project, or the design of a simple advertisement, Wicked Design always over delivers on our projects. Referrals represent our biggest source of new client work due to our focus and execution.

Should your business or organization require professional web or graphic design services, Wicked Design will always be here to support you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about marketing, branding, and online awareness for your efforts. We’ll be happy to help.

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