Future Friendly Design

Peter Merholz on the National Park Service’s brochure design. I’m currently working on an NPS-related project, and was a bit annoyed at a recent redesign which broke a bunch of URLs. Now I see why the new look came about: to match consistency with their excellent print work. Living just steps away from NPS jurisdiction, those brochures catch my attention pretty often, and I was surprised to find that they’ve been using the same design system since 1977. They certainly look newer than that — or perhaps retro trends in modern design are just now harking back to that time. In any case, it’s a great example of versatile, strategic, forward-looking design. I brim with envy.


  1. Seeing those examples makes my heart smile. I have opened those types of brochures, followed those map lines and read the little tidbits of historical information on the Tennessee parks since my childhood. Now that I have young kids our excursions have lessend quite a bit of time. I am looking forward to the coming years though when I grab an extra copy of the map so my son and daughter can cary their own copy in their backpack.