Alastair Somerville and I (working together as Acuity Design) were contacted by Fraser Randall Ltd; with regards to a commission for their client, the Imperial War Museum. Acuity Design had been recommended as one of the few providers of accessible signage and information, for the blind and visually impaired/partially sighted, able to work to such short deadlines; the museum being due to re-open on 19th July.
The Panel in place in the Imperial War museum on 19th July 2014
During a consultation meeting with Alastair, on the 6th June; it was decided that the Imperial War Museum would require a simple tactile and high contrast metal panel, depicting the layout of the World War 1 gallery. As both clarity and space were an issue; it was decided that zones within the gallery, rather than individual exhibits, would be depicted.
Work in progress
At a following planning meeting with myself; the specification was expanded to include both Braille and visual text, as it was clear there would be just enough space on the panel for a key. In addition to meeting the needs of the blind and visually impaired/partially sighted; the panel’s design would also both have to work well within the overall interior design of Casson Mann Ltd and alongside the museum’s exhibits.
The final design
Liaising with both Fraser Randall and the Imperial War Museum staff, I produced the preliminary artwork which was then subject to several amendments. Once these were carried out, the artwork was then evaluated and tested by Alastair. The initial colour scheme was amended slightly to ensure that no two colours, indistinguishable to the colour-blind were adjacent to each other.
The panel is hand painted
As soon as final approval was given, the panel was sent to manufacture. First given a uniform coat of black, the coloured areas were then hand painted; before the raised areas were ground down to an even, contrasting, white metal finish. The completed panel was delivered on the 2nd of July, well in time for the museum’s re-opening on the 19th.
The completed, machined finish
Close-ups, in the Imperial War Museum