Themed Business District Map Design

The vibrant and historic Louisville Kentucky Bourbon District, renowned for its distinguished bourbon heritage, has become a magnet for both tourists and locals alike. In an effort to enhance navigation and promote businesses along Main Street within the Business Improvement District (BID), a specialized project was initiated to design a themed map. This map aimed not only to highlight distilleries but also to feature other key businesses and attractions, thereby fostering economic growth and community engagement.

Themed Business District Map Design: Economic Development District Way finding


The primary goal was to develop a comprehensive, user-friendly map that accentuates the unique character of the Bourbon District. The map was designed to serve various stakeholders including:

  • Tourists: To offer a memorable and immersive experience of the bourbon culture.
  • Local Businesses: To increase visibility and foot traffic.
  • Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Agencies: To support local businesses and promote the area as a tourist destination.
  • Management and Community Districts: Including BIA, BRZ, CID, SSA, SID, LIDs, and community benefits districts, to assist in area management and development efforts.

Design Process

Research and Planning

The project commenced with a comprehensive research phase, involving stakeholders through surveys and workshops to identify key attractions, essential businesses, and visitor needs. This phase also included studying the area’s history and bourbon heritage to infuse the map with thematic elements reflective of the district’s identity.

Creative Conceptualization

Based on the insights gathered, the design team developed several conceptual designs, experimenting with various orientations, styles, and thematic elements. The concepts were reviewed by stakeholders, with a focus on ensuring that the map would be both informative and aesthetically pleasing.

Design Execution

The final design was a harmonious blend of traditional and modern elements, embodying the spirit of the Bourbon District. It featured:

  • Distinctive Orientation Options: Horizontal and vertical layouts to accommodate different viewing platforms and print formats.
  • Interactive Elements: QR codes linking to a digital version of the map, providing real-time updates on business hours, special events, and promotions.
  • Stylized Icons and Legend: Custom icons for distilleries, dining, shopping, and entertainment venues, along with a legend for easy navigation.
  • Thematic Aesthetics: A color palette inspired by the rich hues of bourbon and textures reminiscent of aged wood and copper stills.


The map was distributed in both physical and digital formats. Physical copies were made available at key entry points to the district, including hotels, visitor centers, and participating businesses. The digital version was hosted on the BID’s website, with interactive features enabling users to plan their visit effectively.


The Themed Business District Map significantly enhanced the visitor experience in the Louisville Kentucky Bourbon District. Key outcomes included:

  • Increased Visibility for Businesses: Participating businesses reported a noticeable increase in foot traffic and sales.
  • Improved Navigation: Visitors appreciated the ease of navigating the district, leading to longer stays and increased spending.
  • Strengthened Community Identity: The map reinforced the district’s bourbon heritage, contributing to a stronger sense of place and community pride.
  • Economic Development: The map served as an effective marketing tool for the Chamber of Commerce and economic development agencies, attracting investments and new businesses to the area.


The Themed Business District Map Design project for the Louisville Kentucky Bourbon District stands as a testament to the power of thoughtful design in enhancing urban experiences, supporting local economies, and celebrating cultural heritage. By focusing on stakeholder involvement, thematic integration, and innovative design solutions, the project successfully delivered a functional and engaging resource that serves the needs of visitors, businesses, and the community at large.

Tourism and City Visitor Map Design

Designing a visitor map for Louisville, Kentucky’s Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) involves a strategic and thoughtful approach that benefits various stakeholders including local retail, tourism, wayfinding, corporate partnerships, and overall Louisville business development. Here’s a detailed case study:

Project Overview

Client: Louisville, Kentucky
Project: Downtown BID Visitor Map Design
Objective: To create an informative and user-friendly map highlighting local businesses, restaurants, entertainment, hotels, and hospitality services provided by the BID.

Research and Analysis

  1. Stakeholder Assessments: Collect data from local business owners, hotel managers, and tourism officials to provide accurate data and provide what they hoped the map would achieve.
  2. User Studies: Gathering information from tourists and locals about their navigation challenges and interests in the downtown area.
  3. Competitive Analysis: Reviewing existing maps and visitor guides from similar districts in other cities for best practices.

Design Strategy

  1. Content Selection: The map includes prominent local businesses, popular restaurants, key entertainment venues, and hotels. Each category is color-coded for ease of identification.
  2. Wayfinding Elements: Clear street names, landmarks, pedestrian pathways, and public transportation hubs are highlighted to assist navigation.
  3. Accessibility: The map is designed for print and digital use, ensuring accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities.


  1. Local Retail: By featuring local shops and boutiques, the map drives foot traffic and supports local commerce.
  2. Tourism Enhancement: Tourists benefit from a comprehensive guide to the city’s attractions, increasing their likelihood of extended stays and repeat visits.
  3. Wayfinding Improvement: The map simplifies navigation, reducing the stress of exploring a new city and enhancing visitor experiences.
  4. Corporate Partnership Opportunities: Local businesses can be featured on the map or advertise it, creating resources for the BID and promotional opportunities for businesses.
  5. Boost to Louisville Business: A well-designed map can be a tool for economic development, encouraging investment and interest in the Downtown BID area.

Implementation and Distribution

  1. Production: The map is produced in both print and digital formats, ensuring wide accessibility.
  2. Distribution Points: Maps are distributed at key entry points to the city, including the airport, hotels, visitor centers, and participating businesses.
  3. Online Presence: A digital version is available on the Louisville BID website and through a dedicated mobile webpage.

Evaluation and Feedback

  1. User Feedback: Regular surveys of map users to assess its effectiveness and areas for improvement.
  2. Business Feedback: Ongoing dialogue with local businesses to measure the impact on foot traffic and sales.
  3. Analytics Tracking: For the digital version, usage analytics help understand user behavior and preferences.


The Louisville Downtown BID visitor map represents a significant step in enhancing the visitor experience, supporting local businesses, and promoting the district as a vibrant and welcoming destination. Its strategic design and thoughtful implementation are crucial in realizing these benefits. Continued evaluation and adaptation will ensure the map remains an effective tool for visitors and locals alike.