A blue and grey sign in front of a sprawling, Victorian mansion.

Bringing visitors back in time with the McConnell Mansion Historic House Museum's signage


Design a new sign for the McConnell Mansion, Moscow’s historic house museum. Design accompanying interpretive signage.


I designed the signs by pulling historic type and architectural motifs true to the house’s origins.

When I designed these signs, I created signage that accounts for the house’s identity as a historic landmark.

I addressed this challenge by prioritizing historical appropriateness within the typefaces and visuals, using accessible font colors, sizes, and sign placements, and adapting to cost-related constraints.

A closeup of the sign and its fonts.

Taking it back with type

I used three typefaces—Craftsman, Hadriano, and Corbel—to communicate that the mansion is Victorian and from the 1890s. Craftsman is a digital adaptation of an Arts and Crafts era 1901 magazine letterhead. Its tall x-height, open letterforms, and handcrafted details make it a legible and well-suited main font that I further customized. Hadriano was designed by Frederic Goudy, who was famously influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, making it a historically appropriate typeface. Its shorter x-height contrasts Craftsman and improves legibility. Corbel, the sans serif, mimics Hadriano’s proportions, rounding out this cohesive and versatile type system. Visual details were drawn from the house’s architecture, like the sunburst pulled from the tallest part of the house and the pale background that is similar to wallpaper inside the house.

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The interpretive signage by the sidewalk in front of the mansion.
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Audience-aware to show we care

The signs’ color contrasts meet ADA guidelines, and the type sizes are larger than usual, prioritizing those with low vision. The client also took my creative direction and situated the sign next to the sidewalk. Now people with limited mobility can still read the signs.

Vector sign design that resembles the sign in previous pictures.
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The initial design has spires that reference the house's verticality.

Editing for production

Latah County Historical Society is a non-profit with a limited budget. They could not afford Benjamin Moore house paints, so we adapted to a more affordable option with similar colors. When collaborating with the manufacturer, we simplified the top of the sign posts to make them easier to produce. We also added a panel for printable banners for future budget-friendly advertising.

Latah County Historical Society needed a design that understood the mansion, their visitors, and their cost-constraints. I prioritized historic type, accessibility, and adaptability within my design to make our collaboration successful.