Moscow Zoo wayfinding


In 2019, the image of the Moscow Zoo changed and became more serious. Visitors realized that the zoo is not an amusement park or a petting zoo, but a large scientific center where professional zoologists work. They are engaged in important educational activities, preserve rare species from extinction and love their animals more than anyone else. Along with the image, the zoo’s wayfinding system changed: it has become cleaner, easier to understand and more informative.

A new map of the zoo was also created for those who prefer to plan a route on their own.

moscow zoo navigation map

The tranquil style of the map is consistent with the identity.

moscow zoo navigation map details 01
moscow zoo navigation map details 02
moscow zoo navigation map details 03

No puzzles

All names on the map are chosen in a way that would make it immediately clear who inhabits a specific place. «Exotarium» certainly sounds nice, but «Coral reef fishes» is much easier to understand, albeit a bit longer.

Main characters

There are no callouts or legends on the map: each animal pictogram has a caption. And to make sure visitors don’t drown in the long list of all the inhabitants, the most popular animals are highlighted on the map.

moscow zoo navigation map details 04

A recognizable pictogram was created for each animal. When a silhouette is not enough, color features are also shown. All to ensure maximum ease of recognition.

The map is designed for all possible uses

It works perfectly both on a small smartphone screen and on a huge banner that covers an entire wall. Printed and interactive versions of the map were specially designed. The first one is for getting a quick printout before the visit, and it looks good even when printed on an office printer that’s always low on ink. The interactive version was designed to show the quickest route to enclosures, show schedules and feeding hours.

moscow zoo navigation facade map

Style, specific names, hierarchy and pictograms are all used on directional pylons.

It would be naive to think that all zoo visitors thoughtfully plan out routes and follow them, constantly checking against the map.

Most people walk chaotically, «wherever their feet take them,» and the vast grounds of the Moscow Zoo only encourage this.

This way it’s very easy to miss something interesting and later get upset: “How come we missed the elephants?”

Without encroaching on the sacred right to mindlessly wander, we found a way for people not to miss anything and invented a route that covers the entire territory of the zoo and passes through the most popular enclosures and pavilions.

The concept involves placing huge life-size figures of animals along the route. Each of them points the way to the next animal. On and on, through the entire zoo!

moscow zoo navigation figures 01
moscow zoo navigation figures 02

Such a route is a perfect balance between a random walk and a guide that prescribes every step and forbids turning into alluring nooks and crannies. The route is also ideal for families with children: parents are happy that there is a little less chaos, while children can run around and try to find the next figure.

moscow zoo navigation figures 03

The same images of animals are also used on signs.

moscow zoo navigation lemur

Signs on enclosures are placed perpendicular to the path, so already from a distance visitors can see where they can find the fox and where to make a turn to take a look at the leopard.

moscow zoo navigation fox
moscow zoo navigation leopard

Informative signs tell interesting stories about animals.

moscow zoo navigation vicugna 01
The photo makes it clear which animal in the enclosure the information relates to.
An exciting fact about the animal can be seen from afar and makes it clear that the sign doesn’t contain boring text copied from an encyclopedia, but truly interesting material.
The mock-up is adapted to the specifics of the zoo printing equipment, which means the zoo will not have to rely on a print shop to update the signs and instead can do it in-house, both quicker and cheaper.
The universal design allows to attach the sign anywhere
moscow zoo navigation bird

Warning signs with clear metaphors and lively wording are neatly arranged together so as not to distract from observing the animals.

The new wayfinding system helps the Moscow Zoo show what a cool, modern and scientific place it is. And visitors simply find it much more pleasant to walk around in such a beautiful place.

moscow zoo navigation lions
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