Signage. It’s a key element that every great society relies upon to keep our day-to0day lives running smoothly. Can you imagine cities with no stop signs or posted speed limits? This usefulness also holds true for public facilities like museums, where complex layouts and floor plans can make it difficult for guests to navigate. Thankfully there are great examples of well designed signage like this one, created by Hara Design Institute for The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum.
Hara Design Institute was founded by Japanese designer Kenya Hara, who many will know as the creative director of MUJI, a position he’s had since 2001. With this project he was able to create a simple yet clear aesthetic to all the signage, most of which has a modernist feeling to it. The hierarchy is really well done, with the Japanese kanji being put first with the subtle English spelling secondarily planed underneath. And how great are the shapes for the women’s restroom?
He also created an identity that was both fluid and dynamic, especially when guests are walking by the main signage.
The design for the entrance signage to the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum uses architectural louvers like the teeth of a comb. Lined up in two rows, they stand vertically on the ground. When people look at them while walking past, there is a surprising dynamic movement, like a three-dimensional moire effect. While I got the idea for the symbol mark from the louvers, this mark continues to move, actually like a film. The movement, like ripples, works with the sign to create a calm image.
I think it’s pretty neat that the physical signage helped to influence the branding, creating a flexible identity with an infinite number of combinations. Superbly done.