July 2022

Vibrant signage for Fort Ward Community Hall

Bainbridge Island, Washington is an island just 35 minutes West of Seattle by ferry.

Though small, this place boasts a long and storied military history, starting as a key position in the defense of Seattle and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from enemy ships.

From its first establishment in the 1890s until its decommissioning in 1958, the fortification on Bainbridge grew in parallel with US conflicts abroad. During World War II, Fort Ward, as it was named, was home to a top-secret listening station codenamed “Station S,” tasked with intercepting Japanese communications.

With so many soldiers and staffers at the Fort, the military built the necessary infrastructure to accommodate its population. A key lifeline was the bakery, a modest brick building where preparation, proofing, and of course baking the daily bread ration took place.

Today, the bakery is still one of a handful of the fort’s remaining buildings that are still standing, in large part due to the robust nature of its construction.

While still habitable, the building’s interior and exterior had been neglected for some time, as it sat waiting for its next life as a community center.

In late 2019, we were contacted by the head of the organization spearheading its renovation with the request that we please design a road sign that would help visitors find the building once it opened.

This request was not entirely out of the blue. Marc grew up on the island, and as a budding designer created a series of illustrative signs for other parks, trails, and streams that still dot the island’s roadways.

Now, nearly 20 years later, we needed to create a piece that fit with his original approach, but had a voice all its own.

The bakery’s most notable feature is its cupola, a small vented extrusion in the center of the roof that originally released oven heat from the main space. If visitors knew to look for the cupola, we were confident they could find the building in the now residential neighborhood.


Our composition for the sign therefore places the distinguishing mark at its center, and imagines the onlooker standing under one of the two large fir trees opposite the front door as the building is washed in sunlight.

This viewer-centric approach is consistent with our pursuit of Design Made Human™, and provides the historic bakery building with an identity as vibrant as its history.

This viewer-centric approach is consistent with our pursuit of Design Made Human™, and provides the historic bakery building with an identity as vibrant as its history.

Rainfall dedicates resources and time each year to pro-bono projects that benefit their respective communities and create a happier, more inclusive world.

If you have a project that you would like us to consider, please reach out to

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