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Guiding the Way Back to the Trail

It takes a lot of planning to open and operate a business. From the inkling of an idea’s inception through running a full operation (or many), business owners are trained to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances to hit at any point. Resilience has always been essential in order to prosper during severe situations. Now it’s a fundamental requirement in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic.

Months after shutting the economy down to slow the spread of COVID-19, U.S. businesses are gradually working to recover and reopen their doors. Our local governments are setting standards to get things moving again…safely. With regulations that vary state by state, business owners across every industry are focused on how to resume their operations…safely. Consumed by the many details to account for in the process of reopening…safely. Inviting people to leave their homes and enjoy experiences in public again…safely.

Right, got it, reopen “safely.” But where do you begin with making your business “safe”? That is a question our team was asked by one of our clients that needed guidance on not just reopening the almost seventy distilleries they’re affiliated with, but also making it a comfortable experience for their patrons. What came from that initial conversation about opening one distillery was an opportunity to assist all of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (“KBT”) with opening all sixty-nine distillery doors again.

Safely reopening a business requires clear communication. How a business communicates with its customers takes strategic planning to ensure the messaging is clear yet authentic to its brand and tone of voice, especially if your brand includes sixty-nine unique distilleries. Design plays a key role in the creation of graphics and signage to comfortably guide patrons through their public re-entry experiences.

Having just completed wayfinding design packages for clients in the retail and workplace markets (as well as our firm’s own Office Re-Entry Plan), Hannah Friskey, Senior Designer and Associate at Bergmeyer felt confident in the value we’d bring to the KBT project with our thoughtful approach to branded wayfinding design. By creating a custom-branded wayfinding and physical distancing experience with clever, comforting, and clearly defined directions, patrons that hit the trail again can do so with the confidence that the distilleries are taking their health and safety seriously – without losing the fun along the way – because if the brand is a go-to-good-time, the messaging can’t lose that voice in the process. It’s important to consider what loyal end users have missed most about a brand’s experience, and how it will be perceived by new prospects. That nostalgia and curiosity will get people to return. Designing an authentic, branded experience is why they will stay.

From entrance to exit and throughout a space, wayfinding and signage can be used for encouraging necessary boundaries and safely guiding visitors. Tailoring the graphics to a brand creates a more cohesive experience.

The sample package below, while unique to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, is an example of a custom experience that is adaptable for other businesses.

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