How can you use physical space to tell a story? Well, if you’re the Iowa Department of Transportation, you use rest areas to help travelers gain a sense of place while highlighting some of the state’s unique features.
One facility along I-80 showcases the Iowa Writer’s Workshop — a renowned creative writing program that has produced many best-selling authors, Pulitzer Prize winners, and National Book Awards — and Iowa’s role as “the center of writing in America”. The rest area greets visitors with a multi-story pen to symbolize the physical act of writing, and then features quotes from Iowa authors in various displays both inside and outside the facility. It’s like a mini-museum along your route.
It would have been easier, and probably cheaper, to make a generic restroom with some picnic tables and vending machines — and it would have also forfeited the opportunity to entertain and educate the thousands who stopped there. Iowa had the “write” idea. Take a lesson from them and use your space wisely as a way to share your story.