Civic + Cultural
Visitor centers and small regional museums provide branded and interpretive environments that connect you to the amenities, history, and richness of the communities in which they reside. Working alongside convention and visitor bureaus and museum directors, Holt Environments crafts site-specific displays, informative graphics, welcome area reception furniture, and donor recognition signage to better reflect the community in a comfortable and inviting space.
Planning + Design Development
Entering into a new museum exhibit gallery design or visitor center renovation initiative can be daunting. The beginning of the process requires in depth interviews with organizational and community stakeholders, implementation and resource planning, and several rounds of design iteration and space planning. The end goal is the creation of an immersive, physical environment that captivates and educates your visitors in a lasting way. Holt Environments will work with you from the beginning to define important milestone progress dates throughout the process, to conceptualize unique and well-crafted exhibit displays, to design impactful and informative graphics, and to engineer interactive user experiences that inspire.
Graphic Design for Visitor Centers + Museum Exhibits
Successful interpretive and environmental graphic design for visitor centers and museum exhibits must address the tone, clarity, and meter of the content throughout the space. The story created and told in each space should incorporate an introduction, a middle, and a clear end with informative stopping points along the path.
Visitor center graphic design must communicate concisely about local and regional attractions (restaurants, shopping + entertainment venues, parks, historical + cultural sites), area history, hotel and travel options, housing options, and the proximity to other regional cities and their unique area amenities. The visual appearance of visitor center graphics should inspire the visitor and create a sense of excitement for that local community. The goal, of course, is to draw in more visitors and to inspire people to live and work there.
Interpretive graphic design for museum exhibits should reinforce the overall theme of the exhibit through its visual representation in both style and color. For instance, graphics designed for a children’s museum would likely use bright colors and fun, cartoon fonts. Alternatively, an historical exhibit about the Revolutionary War might appear more reserved and utilize handwritten script fonts reflective of the period. If artifacts are displayed, the graphic design and layout of the artifact labels should be legible and orderly so that a visitor is not confused as to which label belongs to which artifact object within a display case.
Accessibility should also be considered while designing graphics and signage for public spaces such as visitor centers and museum exhibits. The Smithsonian Institution has long provided guidelines for accessible exhibition design. More information and a link to these guidelines can be found on our Resources page here.
Exhibit Displays + Custom Millwork
Custom millwork, exhibits, displays cases, cabinets, reception desks, map tables, and interactive kiosks should be designed in a way to compliment and contribute to the visitor experience within a visitor center, nature center, or museum exhibit gallery. Finishes and lighting choices should compliment the graphics designed for that space and foster a sense of open exploration by the visitor. These bespoke pieces of furniture should be fabricated durably to withstand exposure to the public. Lastly, archival qualities should be considered for artifact displays. In some exhibits, desiccated chambers or UV-rated acrylic vitrines and windows may be a necessity to protect the artifacts displayed within the display cases.
Interactive Digital Design
Another great vehicle for engaging and educating your visitors is through digital displays. Touch screen kiosks, multi-touch walls, Phidget RFID sensor interactives, video games, and simulators are all dynamic tools that can add to the overall visitor experience. Holt Environments tailors and engineers custom digital programs in-house with specific goals for museum exhibits and visitor centers. You can learn more about our Digital Services here.