HAIDA GWAII MUSEUM
The Haida Gwaii Museum (partnered with the Haida Heritage Centre) was voted the best cultural centre in British Columbia in 2012 by the BC Arts Council. Although the museum has been open since the mid-70s, the entire establishment was rebuilt and reborn in 2008. Six full size totem poles were carved for the front of the centre, and the buildings were designed by world-renowned architects to create what looks like a traditional Haida village - save for the huge panes of glass that make up the majority of the walls. After they had completely redone the museum, they also needed to update their advertising presence and in-house graphics. The goal was to create designs that would start to make a sense of identity for the museum. The centre, having more than quadrupled in size, was also lacking in informative signs and wayfinding.
The museum didn’t have anything with their information on it. The large majority of all visitors to the museum are tourists, not from the area or even the country, and often times with English as a second language or not spoken at all. I kept the card clean and simple, and commissioned a local Haida artist for a statement piece that we could use across all their designs. This design was incorporated into all the take-away materials for the center.
The original museum was less than a quarter of the size of the new one and although millions of dollars was spent over the course of ten years developing the new centre, little thought was given to how people would find their way around the new space. We created templates for signage to go throughout the museum, and designed a small logo to signify signs with information. The logo was designed after a Haida copper shield, the largest known of which is the first thing seen when entering the centre.
The museum is large and difficult to navigate solo. Guided tours are put on 4 times a day, but most of the visitors through the centre wander through on their own unless timing works perfectly. We provided visitors with a tri-fold map that would help them navigate through the museum, while pointing out attractions, washrooms, and other facilities. The brochure also functioned as an informational pamphlet and as an advertising source for venues such as BC Ferries.