With design being core to our business, we are passionate about creating inspiring interpretation panels for a variety of sites. But it’s not as simple as it may seem; designing a panel which flows and sees text and image in perfect harmony is a challenge. And we love it!
We can enlighten and engage your visitors through inspiring interpretive boards. Let’s take a look at the best practise for creating exciting interpretation panels.
Identify the Target Audience
One of the first things we do is determine the target audience; will the interpretation be read by historians at a heritage site or is it aimed for families at a wildlife park? We always consider the age and interests of those who will be reading the information because it helps form the overall design.
For example, we can enlighten adults or special interest groups at your site using small paragraphs of in-depth information alongside thought provoking images in a simple, clean design. We can also help youngsters appreciate your site through bullet-pointed information, animated illustrations, games and interactive elements in a bright and fun design.
Consider the Volume of Text
In a nutshell, less is more. Keeping the text as direct and concise as possible is an excellent way to engage the visitor in your interpretation panel, in fact there is a direct correlation between the amount of text and how long the visitor will stand and read it. A large block of copy can seem daunting and off-putting; just imagine being presented with a mountain of food on your plate – it’s intimidating and overwhelming to say the least! Visitors are far more likely to spend time reading smaller, bite-size paragraphs because they are more digestible and easier to manage.
There is no perfect proportion of text you should use, but we try to keep the copy under 300 words; this will engage the reader for longer which creates an exciting learning experience. Your attraction is sure to have plenty of exciting things to do and see so visitors will not want to be standing at a lectern for too long.
Always Adhere to the Client’s Brand Guidelines
Whether it’s a particular colour or a bespoke font, your organisation will have a unique set of brand guidelines. Cohesive branding, from signage through to interpretation, creates continuity, enhances your identity and keeps your site looking neat. Referring to the brand guidelines determines the overall look of the interpretation panel so we always familiarise ourselves with them before we let our creativity flow too far.
Forget Fad Fonts
Although quirky, artistic typefaces look impressive, we consider all people when choosing a font. It’s popularly accepted that in print form, sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are easier to read. The idea being that simple fonts make the letters flow together and are easy on the eyes. The term ‘sans’ is French for without, therefore a Sans Serif font does not have the small projecting embellishments called serifs. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) created a bespoke font called Tiresias which is designed for best legibility for those with visual impairments. Although these fonts can be limiting to the design, it means more visitors are able to comfortably read the interpretation, making the experience enjoyable for everyone. To ensure comfortable reading for all, we use copy at a minimum of 18pt.
Images and Copyright
When it comes to interpretation design, pictures are just as important as copy which is why you should supply high quality images where possible, whether it’s photographs, hand drawn illustrations or digital images.
Photography – We ensure photographs are printed in the correct resolution at 300DPI (dots per inch) in order for them to look crisp and clear on the interpretation panel. If we are sourcing the photographs ourselves, we gain copyright clearance or use royalty free images.
Illustrations – When supplying an illustration, consider the size it will be displayed on your panel. A small picture which is scanned and enlarged will not do the artwork any justice; the brushstrokes and pencil weight will look thick and messy, resulting in a somewhat childlike appearance. We apply the same principles when producing our own illustrations.
Mapping – Before we create a map for orientation panels, we make sure we have a copyright reference. Referring to Bing or Google Maps does not suffice; for best practise, the registered Ordnance Survey licence should be obtained.
Using creative copy and captivating images in a dynamic design, we can produce interpretive panels which will inspire your visitors, young and old. So if you are keen to enhance the public’s experience at your site, why not give us a call today and we can discuss your ideas further.
FWDP are a creative design company who are passionate about creating exciting visitor experiences. We specialise in exhibition design, heritage interpretation, App design, interpretation planning and visitor guides and leaflets. For more information visit our website at www.fwdpcreative.co.ukby