NTM

Národní technické muzeum (National technical museum)

Case Study

Dissertation work, 2017

Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of design and art,
University of West Bohemia

National technical museum is one of the biggest museum institutions in Prague and place, which has deep connection to our rich technical history. For over a hundred years extensive collections have been assembled here documenting the development of many technical fields, of the natural and exact sciences, and of industry in the territory of today’s Czech Republic. 

I decided to redesign the museum for two simple reasons. One being, that NTM was and still is one my favourite museums, where I always liked to go, when I was younger and two, because I felt, that compared to other state institutions, the NTM currently lacks the prestige and renomé it maybe should have - at least not in my eyes.

Current visual style hasn't changed in quite some time, even though there were some attempts to redesign it both from other designers and institution itself. None of them were sadly realized .

Museum's logo is still very nice in its own right, but the overall style, that has been used by the museum lacks modularity and boldness of what institution like this could have. 

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I decided to try to take a look at the overall strategy of the museum and came up with something, that could at least start a discussion about, where the museum could go from here.

Logo_Old_3Logo_Old_3

Proposed logotype from 2010 - unused


My goal

My goal with this project was to came up with new visual style, that would honor and represent the museum better, but also inspire people to get to know our history and take more interest in technical and scientific disciplines.

I created series of visual guidelines, that tackle both printed and digital parts of the project and unify the design language to one cohensive style. I wanted to design something, that would be bold, provocative and modular, but still deeply rooted in Czech and Czechoslovakian history, which is still very significant to the world.

My ultimate goal was to create a project, that would lead to new discussions about future of NTM and that would enable to showcase all of my skills and passion for traditional graphic design and digital design.

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Process:

I first started with extensive research, which meant to write down all the characteristics, that I could use in order to catch a feel of what I want the identity to look. That meant many different versions of moodboards, which also gave me a lot of ideas on what is overused and already done.

The characteristics I picked were: tradition, diversity, quality, accessibility and uniqness, which I further translated to set of lures for the visitors.

These were:

1) Tradition since 1908
2) 14 quality expositions
3) Library/Archive
4) Architecture of the building
5) Museum location

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First task I gave myself to, was to pick typefaces, that would work in both print and digital and that would give the museum its distinguished look. I also wanted to style to be very typografic based and modular, so it would be usable no matter the media or situation.

After weeks of searching, I discovered three typefaces, that I liked together - Sailec, Kreuz Extended and Knifer, which I thought were good match for each other and also represented different aspects of the museum.

I also decided to use elements like 1908 (date of establishment) and 14 (number of expositions), because they both mean and show different statistics about the museum, but also tell a bit more story, than the logo itself.

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You can see all the different elements I use in the branding showcase below.


Posters

Posters were first medium, where I tried this new direction and where I continue to develop other parts of the visual identity. Main purpose of the poster was to show the new visual style of the museum, posters that would show off different exhibitions inside the museum and more abstract posters, that could be used once the people already seen most of the previous versions.

I played with different combinations of content before settling on using sets of many different photos and illustrations, that would color the posters and create the overall style. 

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The visual identity itself is not using any other colours except for black and white, which meant that there is plenty space for the actual photography to be visible.


Prints

Another important part about the new design was to show, how to use the new elements for everything that National technical museum is currently offering.

That meant redesigning books, maps, guides, orientational systems and other print based parts of the current identity, which need to be unified. I was also planning to take a look at how are the current exhibitions stylisticly aligned, but in the end decided not to focus on this issue for now, even if my solutions could be appliable as well.


The examples below are using the similar system as the posters, but further developing them to better suit each of its purpose. They range from book layouts, newspapers and guides to maps and postcards with different motives.

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I also spent lot of time thinking about how to bridge and present the overall design to visitors and how to make them more interested in new visual style and museum itself. I came up with web-based poster generator, that would enable visitors to create their own versions of the posters and show them inside the museum on interactive screens.

For this case I designed different layout mockups, where you could change the look of it, just by changing the pictures and its sizes.

This is of course just a concept, that would need more research, but I can imagine it to be a great marketing opportunity and a way, how to keep the visuals always relevant and updated.



 


Orientational guide

Inside the building is another great place, where we can create totally different experience and utilize the latest technologies. NTM itself is using many TV screens in many places on every floor, which gave me an idea, how to develop this system further. 

I decided to take a look at how these screens could function and what could they possibly show in order to be more hepful to both local and foreigners. As you can see in examples above and below, the screen is great place, where you can store different informations in more effective way and keep it relevenant to different situations.

For example, the main screen, which you will see as you come inside the museum, can be used for showing you all the current events, pricing or wifi credentials. The same can be done for each stage, where we could have maps and directions to different exhibitions or panel of upcoming events, like guided tours.

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The screens would work in tandem with new labels, that can be found on the walls and floors and that should make the orientation in the buidling even more easier. 

The labels are using more visible black colour and are using new iconset, that was specifically designed to be friendly and welcoming. They work very well together with the Kreuz typeface create great contrast.


Interactive ideas

Next important aspect of the proposal was to try to visualize potentional interactive solutions, that would help the museum to be more up to date on latest technological trend, that can inspire the youth even more.

These solutions should also be part of the overall storytelling and should give the visitors more insight on what they just learned.

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I came up with selection of interactive tablet applications, that will be especially attractive to younger boys and girls and that would enable them to see more details about selected expositions. The proposal shows interactive 3D models, that could be very helpful in capturing young minds and their inspiration.

Another viable option is to use virtual reality headsets more in the future and come up with new expositions, that would be based on this new, but emerging technology. This would be in no way cheap option, but it could open up new possibilities for new visitors or handicapped people, unable to visit all parts of the building.

Even if these examples are just ideas, the design system should be prepared for it and be able to give these new technologies matching design.


Digital

Next part of the proposal were set of web and mobile app designs, that are further showcasing, how would the new design work and look on other parts of the brand. These are just some of the pages, that were done, but the whole point was to redesign the user experience that would match the expectations of the today’s users.

The website is using system of block for each set of informations, which makes it help to be fully responsive. The goal was to create easy to use and easy to maintain website, where would users found all the right informations, that could possible persuade them to make a trip to NTM, even if they are not from Prague.

The design showcases index site, expositions section with detail page, but also new pages like gallery and e-shop, where you could buy books and other objects from the museum.

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I also come up with mobile application, which would work as an guide and place, where you can get more informations about each part of the exhibition, that are usually limited by the size of each info card.


Other

Another great project was to create set of abstract art posters, that could function as way, how visitors can get something, they can hang on the wall.

Even if the posters were created as an accident, they still fit pretty well on the museum's current tagline: "14 expositions under one roof", which is exactly what happened here - 14 different posters accidentally multiplied over each other, which sounds like the sort of coincidence, that happens in science too.

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Rest of the proposal consist of uncategorizable items, that can the visitor get inside the museum and inside the museum shop and where we can apply the different sets of elements to even more objects.
 


Summary

Project itself was valuable lesson as I learned how to work with big brand and learned me how to think about all kinds of solutions for different problems that can occur during the process.

 

I hope this project can yield great new discussion about state of National technical museum and would be great place to start the new conversation.


Michael Dolejš
2017

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