Graphic Design

Ann Arbor Hands-On museum logo shows the central word hands-on where the Aye in hand is a yellow hand palm and the letter oh in the word on is a blue gear icon. The H-D, dash mark, and the N are in primary red. The N and gear are in primary blue and the letter S is in yellow to match the hand. Above the word hands-on are written Ann Arbor in black fun, yet readable, font. Centered below the blue oh gear is the word Museum in the same black fun, yet readable font.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (AAHOM) is a 501c3 hands-on children’s science center located by the University of Michigan’s campus


Kristina Rudolph | Graphics and Exhibit Design
Charlie | Exhibit Director
Emily/Becca | Seasonal Summer Interns
Derek | Facilities/Tech
Duration | January 2015 – April 2018
Software | Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop


A row of five images from left to right.
1. A blue and green gradient graphic shows a black and white image of a old man with short white wavy hair wearing a tie tassle with a white collar shirt and suit coat. The image sits to the right top below the words Dr. H. Richard Crane. The remaining text is unreadable to the right and below his image.
2. Yellow members night flyer has black text while the solid background shows faint transparent background images of hand silhouettes, words like discovery, and small gear silhouettes 
3. A white banner says unity in learning at the top and shows three icons from left to right. The first icon is a white silhouette of a gear on a blue square, followed by a white lizard silhouette on a green square and a top view of a simplified white airplane silhouette on a red square
Underneath these three boxes is an image with a close up of a blurry adult in a red shirt holding a focused hand towards the cameras foreground as the hand holds up something gray and squishy. Below it is the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum logo with a solid blue bar that reads explore in white text.
4. Purple little scientist club vertical banner stands at five feet tall. The purple banner has bold white text while the solid background shows faint transparent background images of hand silhouettes, words like discovery, and small gear silhouettes. There are also neon green and neon blue gear silhouettes off to some of the sides away from the text areas 
5. Pieces to an exhibit that are shaped like two fins, a center, and a nose of the US space shuttle. Under the graphic of the nose is a blue gradient background which mimics the exhibit backgrounds that were redesigned for the museum.

Overview

Why / How / What

  • WHY: Signs and labeling within the museum were highly varied. Various fonts were used with eclectic backgrounds and hard-to-see content contained some misspellings.
  • HOW: Through the direction of the exhibit director and museum director I was tasked with unifying the museum’s in-house labeling, signs, and banners.
  • WHAT: outcomes (below)

Five images from left to right.
1. Vision and mission poster for the Ann Arbor Hands-on museum shows a central world cartoonish graphic illustration with the museum's vision and mission in white which is not readable. Cartoon images surround the world representative of various museum exhibits and elements such as a small home, an ambulance, bubbles, music notes, and wind propellors
2. A red sign with hooks hangs three small clear handbags with black handles. Bags contain sound blocking earmuffs, sunglasses, and tactile toys. The sign reads Sensory friendly kits available here and shows icons of sunglasses and earmuffs on either side of the label
3. A purple vertical floor banner stands and reads the little scientist club. The rest of the banner is too small to be read but there are neon green and neon blue gears scattered around the white text
4. A blue and green gradient graphic shows a black and white image of a old man with short white wavy hair wearing a tie tassle with a white collar shirt and suit coat. The image sits to the right top below the words Dr. H. Richard Crane. The remaining text is unreadable to the right and below his image.
5. a visual illusion sign shows a rainbow gradient background with two white parallel lines. The top line has two arrow heads pointing away from the main line facing out. The bottom line has two arrow heads with the points to the arrow touching each end of the line. The lower line is an optical illusion making the viewer think the line is longer.
Clicking this image will open into a page taking you to various graphic design projects that were created while working at the Ann Arbor Hands-on museum.

Outcomes

  1. Important information like the misspellings of donor names were corrected with the new design integrations.
  2. The cohesive designs created more fluidity throughout the museum.
  3. Donors noticed the gradual transitions throughout the museum and began donating more money. First time donors also began stepping forward seeing their dollars at work

Design

Designs were meant to bring more color and light into darker spaces. Some labels were informational while others were small interactive exhibits like the ones below.

Two images of four primarily blue signs hanging in a bathroom with light blue tiles and a border of dark blue tiles near the top. the word before reads in white on the left image. The right image says after and underneath is the same bathroom with brighter and more colorful graphics.
Both sets of graphics show visual optical illusions.
Four designs of visual optical illusions and an image to the left of these with a small sign where the only legible text says hand dryer.
Each of the four posters have bright gradients that go from blues and green colors to yellow and orange colors.
Designs of the new, more colorful, optical illusion graphics for the dark blue bathroom spaces

The font Roboto became a standard unifying element to each design. The majority of designs had simple colorful gradient backgrounds to create a sense of playfulness. Considerations for readability and accessibility were still needed so designs used high-contrast colors with visible text sizes.