Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Park Signage Guidelines

This page contains guidance for Dane County Parks Friends groups that want to add signage to a Dane County Park. Please note that all signs, including locations, must be reviewed and approved by Dane County Parks staff prior to placement. Please contact Lael Pascual before beginning your project.

Interpretive Signage

Layout, content, size and fabrication

  • Each sign should typically cover one theme, feature of interest, or piece of history that you want to educate people about.  Interpretive signs are intended to be informative yet provide a simple message that is conveyed using the right balance of text, images, diagrams, and graphic design.  The text should be written with the “3-30-3” rule in mind. You have 3 seconds to hook the visitor, 30 seconds if they are hooked, and 3 minutes if they are very interested. 
  • Interpretive signs that are placed along trails or at a point of interest are typically sized at 36” wide by 24” high.  If they are going to be placed inside a standard Dane County Parks two or three-sided metal kiosk, they should be sized at 48” x 48” with 2” margins. 
  • Stand alone interpretive signs typically have a 1/2" thick high pressure composite or laminate sign panel attached to a metal plate and support post or a metal plate with a sleeve attached to a wooden post that is embedded in the ground. Sign panels that have threaded inserts w/ security bolts for attaching to a metal plate prevent theft and are recommended. Manufacturers like Fossil Industries, BCE Signs, or similar of high pressure laminate signs designed for outdoor use are recommended. Best Exhibits manufactures mounting sleeves for attaching signs to wooden posts. Signs to be installed in a Park kiosk with a covered door should be printed on 48”x48” aluminum panel with UV ink from a local sign company like Budget Signs.
  • To the extent possible, interpretive signs should be placed at or along developed trails or facilities that are ADA accessible.  Signs should also be placed in a way that they don’t detract from the natural setting or create too much sign clutter.  A good rule of thumb is to cluster them in one location rather than having them spread out  and visible throughout the whole property.  The bottom edge of the sign should be a minimum of 3’ from the ground.  A low profile single pedestal mounting system should be used.

Design Tips

Please review and follow these design tips to help you develop a sign that is visually pleasing and easy for the viewer to read and understand.


Dane County Parks Logo

The Dane County Parks logo should be added to your sign. Do not alter the colors, stretch or distort the logo in any way. Logo files can be downloaded from the folder linked below.