City of San Francisco

Transforming urban transportation

Their Goliath

Endlessly searching for parking endangers pedestrians and is bad for the environment. San Francisco created SFpark, a federally-funded project based on a unique premise. What if parking pricing were based on availability? Could that encourage people to park at times and places with more open spots? Smart idea, but it only works if drivers change their deeply ingrained parking habits.

Our Solution

Interviews with industry experts and consumers provided two insights. First, parking “purchase decisions” repeat daily. Changing the experience at the meter might prove most effective. Second, in San Francisco, the loudest voices often stop the best civic projects. The project’s success could depend on limiting complaints as much as increasing parking availability.

What We Did

Brand Strategy
Change Management
Identity Design
Presentation Design
Web Design
Launch Strategy
Campaign Management
Wayfinding Design
Print Advertising
Web Advertising
Outdoor Advertising


The new demand-based pricing model required new technology to be installed around the City: in-ground sensors to monitor availability and smart parking meters that could change rates in real-time. Community awareness and understanding would be key. I worked with the ace design team at WPI to create a video that told the entire SFpark story in under three minutes. The video played before each public meeting and was featured front-and-center on the project’s website.

Identity Design

We looked at parking signage from across the world and discovered a common theme: a white P in a blue field. We refined the existing orange program identity to align with this more familiar blue. We created a bold, yet simple visual style that was extended to illustrations and icons. We recommended keeping the existing program name, SFpark, as it already had brand recognition among City influencers.

Launch Campaign
Signage Design

After the initial project was complete, the SFMTA brought us back to simplify more parking signage. We reduced visual and verbal clutter while increasing legibility. Note the change from “FOR TOWED VEHICLES CALL” to simply “TOWED?” as well as the new space given for installation hardware that previously covered important text.

The Results

Since its launch, SFpark has both improved traffic flow in our city and gained significant recognition, serving as an inspiration to municipalities around the world.