There’s something amazing about putting the two terms ‘guerilla’ and ‘wayfinding’ together. Guerilla connotes a small group of revolutionary riffraff, usually running around under cover of darkness and/or bandanna, just generally fucking shit up. Wayfinding is a kinda the opposite of that, a service provided for order that reminds me of being in a museum and not knowing where the bathroom is. But Matt Tomasulo, a friend of mine in Raleigh and general civic-minded rabblerouser has found a great way to put the two together.
In early January, he and a few pals spent a dreary night engaging in some good ol’ guerrilla wayfinding. They printed up a series of simple signs letting the public know that it was just a short walk from where they were standing to a museum, green space, or point of interest not too far away. Brilliant in it’s simplicity, and meant to empower pedestrians to retake bipedal ownership of their city, people loved it. But unfortunately capital-R Raleigh didn’t – mostly because the signs were illegal. At that point though, word had spread like wildfire, and with a bit of hustling and a lot of signatures, Matt was able to convince the city to reinstate the project as a pilot program and the signs are (I believe) on their way back up.
Since I’ve known Matt, I’ve always had a ton of respect for the guy. He’s a civic-minded guy using his entreprenurial skills (go buy a shirt/tote from CityFabric) to back his civic-minded projects. His vision is having a two-pronged business; one side of it is selling merchandise that encourages conversations about place, but the other side is funded by the first, and consists of big thinking projects that use the city as the canvas for his design.
Building off the success of his Walk Raleigh campaign, Matt’s got a second Kickstarter project up right now to fund an open-source platform for creating your own guerilla wayfinding signs, similar to the ones he created for Raleigh. On the site, you’ll be able to put your starting point (where the sign gets posted) and destination, and print out a pdf with the signature “It’s a ___ minute walk from here to ___.”
Raleigh’s lucky to have someone as creative as Matt walking the streets and seeing it as an opportunity for better design. I’ve tried to poach him away to Durham, but for now, I’ll have to witness his work from up I-40.