Ah, the dreaded RFP/RFQ process… Love ‘em or hate ‘em, RFPs and RFQs are necessary components of designing and implementing a successful wayfinding signage campaign. However, there is a fine art to creating an RFP/RFQ that will actually yield the return on investment your city is looking for. Before you begin your search for the perfect wayfinding vendor, consider the following:
- Project History – Letting potential vendors know a bit about the history and background of the project will definitely help lead to finding the right vendor. As you create your RFP/RFQ, be sure to include information on what led to the project’s creation, why the project is a priority and what the overall goals of the project are.
- Include a Civic Brand Statement – This statement should illustrate the “why?” behind the project. It should explain who you are and what your city and/or community is about. Since the wayfinding project will become a brand facilitator, it is important for proposers to understand the feeling(s) behind the message.
- Known Entities – Explain to your potential vendors who will be utilizing and engaging with your city’s new wayfinding campaign. Prior to issuing an RFP/RFQ, you should have a general understanding of who interacts with the environment and what their greatest concerns are. For example, if a city has a large student population, dedicated walking and cycling paths may be of great concern to them. Conversely, if a city is a business hub, identification of parking areas may be a primary function of the system.
- Include a Narrative Project Description – Ask for what you want because you will get what you ask for. A project narrative can be as short or as long as needed to describe the project’s complete scope. Let interested vendors know about the goals for the system, what the city wants to achieve with the system, if multiple phases should be planned for, if funding is already in place and anything else that will help you to segment the proposers into the option for your specific needs.
- Consider City Events – Often, a city will develop a wayfinding system in response to popular events in the city. Parades, arts festival, holiday events, sporting events and any other future events should all be considered. Be sure your RFP/RFQ includes enough information about special events so that potential vendors have a clear understanding of how place making and event planning will affect the wayfinding system.
- Don’t Forget the Art – Any good wayfinding system should include a number of concepts that reach beyond a typical sign. Require proposers to discuss how they perceive the use of art within a wayfinding system and what functions art has played in their previous work.
- Complete the Vision – Even if you do not have plans or funding to build your system at the design/plan conclusion, requiring proposers to provide a strategy for connecting theory and design will help you to avoid losing momentum between phases. Ask each proposer to include a plan for fabrication and installation of the wayfinding system, in part or as a whole.
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