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Designed by London’s Carter Wong Design in conjunction with signage manufacturer Bolton Sign, the orientation and wayfinding system at the National Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire improves visitor access and communication throughout the museum.

Converted in the early 1980s from a purpose-built, but never used, theater, the building was a potentially challenging arrangement of spaces, with galleries formed at half-levels to the front and rear around an IMAX auditorium. Initially the redesign was part of a foyer development project aimed at improving the museum’s primary information point, cinema ticketing, queuing and a retail outlet. Carter Wong’s first stage survey, however, revealed more complex issues affecting visitor orientation around the museum. Not only did the foyer not project the personality or identity of the museum to create a sense of arrival but it was not obvious where to enter from the rear car park.

The graphic concept was inspired by movie clapperboards which translates into bold angles and chevrons that function as directional arrows. The angles appears as cutouts on the wall signs and totems and as chevrons on glass; it's a particularly useful device on the all-glass frontage for directing people to the front door and as a safety device on the surrounding glass panels.

The system consists of freestanding totems that can be moved and economically updated, wall-mounted signs and maps, and glass-mounted decals at the front and rear entrances. The maps are also available in leaflet form. An eye-catching wall in the main foyer resolves the issue of promoting regularly changing exhibitions and key exhibits not to be missed, with on-screen holding graphics and easy-to-use templates to ensure that the updated information remains visually consistent.

Designed for maximum visibility, the signs resolve the safety, durability and maintenance issues that all public buildings face. Made from an enameled material that Bolton Sign developed for large Rolls Royce industrial sites, their highly polished surfaces are an excellent foil for the bright color-coded graphics and makes them weatherproof, scratch resistant and easy to clean if sprayed or marked.
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