3 Reasons Why School Campus Modernization Matters

Innovation Middle School

Innovation Middle School

It is no secret that California schools’ maintenance and capital improvements have been long overdue. Statewide and nationally, schools have been underfunded for maintenance and operations, and these areas have traditionally taken a back seat to education expenses.

 An article, “America’s school buildings–like California’s­–need fixing” by Jeffrey Vincent, deputy director, Center for Cities and Schools | April 4, 2016 touched on another of the core issues as inequity,

 “Local districts have federal and state funds to help with maintenance and operations, but are largely dependent on the wealth of their communities for new construction and major renovations.”

Fortunately, many California districts have received funding through bond measures and are addressing inequities by developing plans to bring all school facilities into the 21st century.  Here’s why that matters:

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1)    Modernization improves student/teacher health and promotes engagement in the learning environment.

2)    Helps attract and retain high quality teachers.

3)    Is good for the community, increasing property values and encouraging community taxpayer support.

 Graphic Solutions has been honored to work with the San Diego Unified School District on a number of campus modernization projects, providing sign planning and graphics to promote school branding and STEAM programs. The results have been transformative.

 Innovation Middle School is an example of how Graphic Solutions’ environmental designs and branding might inspire student enthusiasm for learning.

Innovation Middle School lounge interior graphics

Innovation Middle School lounge interior graphics

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Innovation Middle School collaborative space

How well-planned public open space encourages urban renewal: North Park Mini Park

Rendering of the new North Park Mini Park

Rendering of the new North Park Mini Park

The North Park Mini Park in San Diego, CA, projected to open in 2020, will be a model of public open space and future “town square” for one of San Diego’s most rapidly evolving communities; and a catalyst for continued urban renewal. 

KTUA collaborated with the City of San Diego in designing the park on a half-acre unused parking lot, with amenities that include an open stage for live entertainment, a giant movie screen, a children’s play area and three large pergolas scattered across the plaza to provide shade; as well as space for food trucks or special event booths.

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In collaboration with KTUA, Graphic Solutions designed two iconic wayfaring pylons which provide landmark identification that can be seen from the adjacent University Avenue corridor.  Colorful tile bases reference the existing North Park community monument sign.  Aesthetically pleasing and practical, stainless steel sculptural metal forms are illuminated at night with color-changing LED lighting and community information display cabinets are integrated in the pylon bases.

North Park Mini-Park’s unique, open design provides opportunity for community events and creates a safe and fun environment for the entire community.  Feedback from residents and businesses has been overwhelmingly positive.


Interested in learning more? Click below to contact Graphic Solutions.

How to find parking and attractions in historic neighborhoods

Have you ever driven in historic neighborhoods and had trouble finding a parking space or specific attractions? If so, you are not alone!

Uptown San Diego is one of the oldest and most eclectic districts in the City. It boasts 2,700 acres of six distinct neighborhoods where historically significant homes, post World War II era apartments, trendy food establishments and boutiques mingle with modern high rise condos, medical and commercial areas. Parking spaces are dispersed into small lots or street parking and getting your bearings can be quite a challenge if you’re not familiar with the area.

That’s where Graphic Solutions can help–as we have for Uptown–by creating wayfinding signs that guide visitors to parking and to each unique neighborhood while linking it all to the Uptown District.

“…lots of great reception from the community…”

Executive Director, Uptown Community Parking District

We used consistent messaging organization, font types and font colors to create a visual standard for the district of Uptown, then designed unique sign shapes, logos and background color to differentiate each Uptown neighborhood. Now, visitors and residents in this thriving, bustling cultural enclave can easily navigate, park and explore all that Uptown has to offer.

Clearly marked parking encourages foot traffic and visits to local businesses.

Clearly marked parking encourages foot traffic and visits to local businesses.

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Sign shape and background color differentiates neighborhoods.

Sign shape and background color differentiates neighborhoods.

How Rebranding Helps Revitalize Communities

Gateway to El Cajon Boulevard

Gateway to El Cajon Boulevard

El Cajon Boulevard’s storied past began when it was part of U.S. State Route 80; the main route connecting all points east into San Diego.  Some of the City’s oldest hotels still operate along the busy strip, including the historically significant Lafayette Hotel, built in the Grand Colonial Style in 1946.

 The completion of Interstate 8 in the 1960’s reduced traffic and visitors to El Cajon Boulevard and many areas fell into disrepair.  In 1988, the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association was formed to revitalize the many diverse communities along El Cajon Boulevard.

Graphic Solutions was honored to collaborate with the El Cajon Boulevard Business Association and the City of San Diego to develop a rebranding of this area, developing the name and iconic  gateway sign: The Boulevard.  Design solutions include a type-face reminiscent of the 1950’s and incorporating distinctive turquoise and coral colors as well as neon.  The bold design evokes a sense of optimism while honoring the area’s rich history. The project has won an Orchid Award and a national award from The Society for Environmental Graphic Design.

 This rebranding was the beginning of an ongoing renaissance of the Boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods.  Today, vacancies are down and property values are up. Exciting new plans are underway to build upon improvements, transforming communities surrounding The Boulevard into model, transit-oriented neighborhoods.

Get the latest updates regarding The Boulevard by visiting http://theboulevard.org/

Graphic Solutions' Last Holiday Party on Main Street

The Graphic Solutions team celebrated our last Holiday Party at our Main Street location with neighbors and friends, enjoying delicious Mexican food, a slide show tribute to Graphic Solutions’ amazing history and a “white elephant” exchange.

We will be moving the second week of January to our new Kearny Mesa digs. More details will follow soon…