High Line Reopening

Signage & Environmental Graphics

Environmental graphics help visitors safely maintain social distancing at the elevated park in New York City.

The High Line reopened in July 2020 to offer New Yorkers a special place to relax, stroll and enjoy the outdoors and as they emerged from the Covid-19 lockdown. Pentagram has developed environmental graphics for the reopening of the elevated railway turned city park, including a system of over 1,000 bright green dots that help visitors safely maintain social distancing. The program builds on the identity and signage Pentagram originally created for the High Line.

Free passes are available on a timed entry system to manage the number of people on the High Line at any one time. Visits begin at the Gansevoort Street entrance and move northwards to 23rd Street, with all other access points exit-only. The limited access helps restore a bit of serenity to the park, which is typically one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions. The elevated structure cuts through the surrounding buildings and street grid on an unusual path that balances the beauty of nature with extraordinary views of the city and its architecture.

The pattern of circles organizes the space and makes the experience of social distancing as easy as possible for visitors, showing them where to walk and stand in line as they wait to enter on Gansevoort. The dots help users judge the way forward and how they should space themselves along the path as it becomes wider and narrower. The temporary signage is made of outdoor-grade vinyl and is affixed to the ground to avoid obstructing the amazing views.

The reopening reunites the original group of collaborators who helped make the High Line a reality over the past 20 years. Pentagram first designed the logo, promotional campaigns and fundraising materials for Friends of the High Line, the community organization founded in 1999 by Robert Hammond and Joshua David that proposed the idea to save the elevated railway and make it a park. The identity for the group became the logo for the park itself, and Pentagram created the signage system for the High Line when it opened to the public in 2009, along with subsequent sections that were finished over the years.

Other New York City parks remained open throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, but with its narrow paths the High Line presented a unique challenge. The new graphics are a key component for a strategy to allow visitors to safely use the park. The circles introduce a new element to the graphic identity and help unify the experience of the park at this moment. The circle also provides the basis for a series of custom icons for regulations like social distancing and mask wearing, and appears on special t-shirts for staff. 

The High Line launched a fundraising campaign that gave supporters the opportunity to Adopt a Dot and help extend the park reopening up to 30th Street.

Reserve your time to visit the High Line here.

New York
Paula Scher
Project team
Rory Simms
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