Beating other well-known wayfinding companies, we won the competition to develop a new wayfinding system for Deutsches Museum in 2015.
The Deutsches Museum in Munich is one of the world’s largest, most respected and venerable museums of science and technology. It attracts about 1.5 million visitors every year. 40 exhibitions are on display, covering approximately 45,000 square meters of floor space at four locations, and encompassing an enormous range of subjects such as astronomy, oceanography, nanotechnology, mining and musical instruments.
To bolster its position as a prominent forum and educational venue for scientific and technical education, Deutsches Museum is in the process of redesigning the majority of its exhibitions within the framework of its Future Initiative.
The new wayfinding system has been developed and is being implemented in parallel to the Future Initiative’ interim phases and must therefore be able to respond to ongoing changes related to the building structure and its contents, as the museum remains open to visitors.
The challenge was to create a logical, legible and engaging system that communicates the diverse museum collections and guides visitors through the exhibition spaces and subject areas which are distributed across several floors and building parts.
Moreover, the new system has to work alongside existing wayfinding elements throughout the transformation period until the old system is fully replaced by the new. Therefore, we remain responsible for planning and coordinating the system’s successive implementation on an ongoing basis until completion of the interim phases in 2025.
Through the use of unique symbols, we created a visual language that is easily understood by the broad range of museum visitors including young children, experts and international visitors.
Newly developed pictograms for each exhibition subject are at the core of the new wayfinding system. The unique and illustrative symbols reflect the multitude of subjects in an engaging and internationally legible way. Whilst they are displayed in combination with cluster colors – the clusters have been identified by the museum, they work on their own as easy to understand wayfinding elements, conforming to accessibility standards.
The pictograms have been designed to be the primary wayfinding element, large in their size and to be understood without words and barrier-free.
Well-known scientific visual devices like the periodic table and the circuit diagram served as the inspiration for design decisions such as the grid-like arrangement of subject symbols on the level overview sign and illustration of floor plans respectively.
We developed different sign types for the museum’s exterior and interior spaces, including wall and ceiling signs and floor applications.
Interim products that can easily be adjusted and replaced to respond to content and location changes during the transformation period have been developed following a modular and flexible approach. Printed foil is applied to either alu-dibond board or directly to walls, doors and floors. The choice of materials allows for a quick replacement or relocation of the wayfinding information as needed.
- Creative Directors Isolde Frey
- Art Directors Beatriz Rebbig
- Designers Anna Gaissmaier
- Illustrators –
- Photographers Stefan Schilling
- Editors –
- Copywriters –