Design Museum London: Designer in Residence

In 2009 the Design Museum in London, UK asked me to be one of their designers in residence. I was asked to explore the way-finding system within the building and create something slightly different than the more traditional signage of other public spaces.

The museum was broken down by its three floors and each floor was assigned a colour of the RGB colour group. Each floor had its own areas of interest, and some floors had multiple areas for exhibitions or spaces attached for learning or workshops.

Originally I’d mapped the space with simple line illustrations, but decided on an flat colour isometric map showing only the points of interest which would be useful landmarks to navigate with. Floors with multiple exhibitions are indicated by having a different shade of its colour, and areas that are not currently available to the public are striped off.

Design Museum Maps by Dave Bowker

The 3 isometric maps of the Design Museum space, colour coded in RGB for each floor.

The museum is not that big and doesn’t require overly complex maps to navigate the space. I tried to keep most of the iconography very simple as well, for example marking the stairs with flat white lines of how they ascend and the elevator with a simple up/down marker.

For the front entrance I opted for a simple block colour graphic showing each floor with exhibition titles set next to its corresponding floor.

Design Museum Floor Levels by Dave Bowker

Each floor is colour coded, and every exhibition in the museum is assigned a corresponding way-finding colour.

Design Museum Floor Indicators by Dave Bowker

Simple floor indicators were also developed to place on the stair wells.

Early Designs

As part of the residency I was asked to provide an overview of the journey I’d gone through to achieve the final outcome. Feedback from the exhibition coordinators was very helpful in evolving the designs, as they’re able to see on a daily basis the movements people make when visiting the museum.

Design Museum Residency Progress by Dave Bowker

From left to right, you can see the variations on designs and elaborate use of colour moving towards a simpler layout with coordinated colours.

The residency exhibition ran until March, 2010 and as of November, 2012 the maps are still being used within the building for their ability to show an overview of the musuem quickly and simply.

Dave Bowker Signature

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