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In 2011, the Queensland, Australia, community of Cardwell experienced the savage force of Cyclone Yasi, generating a storm surge so powerful that the Cardwell shore was left desolate. Since then, this five kilometer stretch of shore has been revived by the Cardwell Foreshore Redevelopment. The project aimed to celebrate the region’s identity and historical significance, while injecting it with a new sense of vibrancy. Brisbane-based design firm Dotdash was asked to design a wayfinding strategy and environmental graphics in close collaboration with the local community. The end result was a family of signage and pathway treatments that allow visitors to navigate, interpret and appreciate Cardwell.

The collection of directional signs incorporates a bold color palette inspired by the surrounding reef and rainforest. Its simple post-and-panel system allows for a clean juxtaposition between the sharp aluminum panels and the rough texture of aged timber posts. To help visitors navigate a new landscape, one that covers the scars of a natural disaster, the signs explain local wildlife and history—and tell the story of the community’s transformation.

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