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Tue Apr 13, 2021, 02:31 PM

The Unsung Ranger Behind the U.S. Forest Service's Iconic Signs

Last edited Tue Apr 13, 2021, 03:05 PM - Edit history (1)

Career ranger Virgil “Bus” Carrell had no design training, but “really gave a damn,” say experts, about his lasting legacy.



Most Americans haven’t heard the name Virgil “Bus” Carrell. But drive across the country and you’ll see Carrell’s work. And if you’ve entered a national forest, driven to a natural monument, or crossed the Continental Divide, you’ve probably even pulled over and snapped a selfie next to one of his creations. Those quirky brown-and-cream trapezoids, with the retro typeface that welcomes you to a U.S. Forest Service-managed site, are his legacy. Over the last half-century, those signs have become not only instantly recognizable, but iconic.

“Whoever designed these signs really gave a damn,” says designer Charles Spencer Anderson, whose influential Minneapolis-based firm specializes in identity development. “I don’t know if they had a sense of history when they designed these things, but it appears they understood the gravity of the assignment.”

Carrell had no formal design training, but he understood that the project to create signage for Forest Service properties coast to coast called for something special. Carrell and his team would create what he called a “family of shapes,” each sign an individual but clearly related to the others. For example, signs marking the Continental Divide are shaped like bow ties, as if two trapezoids were joined in the middle, but sport the same colors as the asymmetrical trapezoids welcoming you to scores of National Forests, and smaller symmetrical trapezoids at trailheads.

A ranger most of his life, Carrell may have seemed an unlikely design savant. He graduated from the University of Washington College of Forestry in the 1930s and immediately went to work for the Forest Service, immersing himself in every assignment from trail maintenance to fire prevention. “Before I was born, he and my mother even lived in a fire lookout tower for a while in Oregon,” says Carolyn Dennison, his daughter.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/forest-service-signs-history

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Reply The Unsung Ranger Behind the U.S. Forest Service's Iconic Signs (Original post)
demmiblue Apr 13 OP
SWBTATTReg Apr 13 #1
dalton99a Apr 15 #2

Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 03:50 PM

1. Neat. What an outstanding contribution to our national parks that this guy made...

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Thu Apr 15, 2021, 07:48 AM

2. Kick













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