An important objective of the redesign of the Royal Ontario Museum – transformed last summer by Daniel Libeskind’s Crystal addition – has been to create a wondrous and delightful visitors’ experience. Understanding that signage is an important component of this experience, the ROM enlisted the services of design firm Gottschalk+Ash International to develop a wayfinding system that would contribute to this objective.
For G+A, two key issues were at the forefront. The first was to link very separate and distinct architectural styles. Design director Udo Schliemann solved this by introducing glass as the primary material; elegant and forgiving, glass (already an existing presence in the architecture of the ROM) blends well with the many backgrounds of the museum. The second issue was to develop a system that was comprehensive enough to provide for wide-ranging needs, yet simple enough to offset the intricate floor plan of the museum. By abstracting the floor plan, G+A was able to simplify its complexity; a straight line has been created as a path, offering visitors a clear and simple way to navigate.
These solutions – along with a sophisticated treatment of graphic elements, colour, typography and iconic imagery – add up to a functional yet elegant signage system that truly enhances and reflects the essence of the ROM.