On 11 August ’23, the Natural History Museum (NHM) in South Kensington London launched a tender valued at £150,000 for the design of a new signage and wayfinding system, to align with its new brand identity and improve the visitor experience.
The last major signage project at the NHM was carried out in 2007. This wayfinding system is largely still in situ, with some older signage remaining alongside newer signs that do not follow the same model. This leads to inconsistency and confusion, often resulting in uneven distribution of visitors across the museum space.
NHM’s new brand identity, designed by Pentagram and Nomad, was introduced earlier this summer. It is hoped that a new signage and wayfinding system will facilitate visitors’ navigation of both South Kensington and Tring sites, collections, displays and events.
The brief details that the signage and wayfinding will have to align with the new brand identity. The chosen studio will be able to use the findings of a recently delivered signage and wayfinding audit and strategy to help shape their design. It is hoped that the new wayfinding solution will create a “welcoming, inviting and accessible environment” that will appeal to both current and future audiences. Clarity and consistency are key aims for the new system to link the museum’s on site signage to its online approach. Proposals will be expected to follow the NHM brand style guidelines, integrate the new pictograms and lay out “a clear hierarchy and structure” for the signs as well as differentiating between varying signage needs whilst maintaining a single coordinated design scheme.
Designers who submit proposals are invited to “describe how the system will function and provide components, including the types and locations; consider the visitor experience at entrances, which may result in proposals to improve or provide orientation points”, and encompass both physical and on site digital signage for wayfinding. New maps for both NHM sites are also in the scope of the brief, to be graphic rather than interactive.
The closing date for submission of proposals is 14 September 2023. The contract is due to start in mid December 2023, and run until late July 2025.