For this task we had to make a visual audit of the visual language and style of the London Science Museum. So, let’s begin with the first part of the event: the logo. Designed by johnsonbanks, it looks like it was taken from a sci-fi movie and thrown into the real world.




It has a futuristic look with its geometrical shapes and the 45° corners, and it’s incredible clever how most of the letters are made of the same shape, but rotated (just spin the C clockwise and you have the N). Science has always been about the future so I think that this logo communicates the essence of the museum very clearly.

Now, inside the museum. There are a lot of clear signage so it’s not hard to find your way around. There’s also a color coding for each floor so it’s easy to know in what floor you are and makes the area you might be looking for more easy to find.


SM visual audit-02


The color scheme also looks great on print and uses a badge that is inspired by the logo typography.

There are a lot of “empty” walls, but I think this is good because the locations don’t feel cramped. It would be hell if all the wall would have images of the exhibits or advertising about the museum.

One issue that I find troubling is the use of multiple fonts in the museum.


SM visual audit-01.jpg


As you can see there are 3 or 4 fonts, and this is without counting the ones that are used for the different exhibits. This could cause the visual language of the museum to be seen as not unified and a little chaotic, without a proper visual style. Even the use of small but important graphic elements, like the square used in the Information signage, could improve the communication within the museum.

Moreover, this becomes very evident when you go to other museum areas. For example, the Wellcome Wing has a visual identity that looks like it belongs to another museum. Elements such as typography, shapes and colors totally differ from the ones in other areas. Cases like this make it so important to maintain a visual consistency, even if the themes of the areas are different. I think this usually happens when the communication of a place or company is so big that inconsistencies will start to appear as time goes by and the visual management passes form one person to another.

And finally we have the different types of exhibition there are in the museum. This is also a mainly typographic issue that could be seen as positive or negative, depending on the perspective. On one hand, the use of different fonts (and graphic styles) allows each exhibit to have its own visual identity, communicating different kinds of emotions and messages and creating multiple sub-branding systems within the museum. This could create an element of innovation and constant renewal.


SM visual audit-03


On the otter hand (sorry I had to say it, I know it’s an awful joke) this could cause the same thing I was saying before; a feeling that the overall visual language of the museum is fragmented rather than unified, and is constantly changing. In the image above you can see a minimum of 4 fonts, all very different from each other, all in the waiting hall and this is counting the ones that are part of the museum itself. In the end, I think the graphic communication of the exhibitions should be unified with typography and shapes, and make color and composition communicate the identity that needs to be expressed.

To conclude, it all depends on what the museum wants to communicate, but I think that the overall visual language they use is innovative and engaging, but with some issues that need to be fixed to enhance the communication inside the building.


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