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Fleet Science Center's Wayfinding Study & Education: A Case Study

In 2016, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center underwent a drastic transformation and updated its branding to bring the long-held institution into the modern era. The rebrand brought revitalized enthusiasm to the science center and kicked off a domino effect throughout. However, the wayfinding stayed stuck from a time long since gone. So when the pandemic hit, the graphic design and exhibits department saw this as an opportunity to create and massage out the information and wayfinding system and its design.

Service

Wayfinding Systems, Organization Education, Illustration

Role

Research, presentor, designer, illustration

Client

Fleet Science Center

Year

2020

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Outcomes of the Outbreak

After Covid-19 hit, the graphic design department went into overdrive. But, between the mask recommendations, the distancing signs, and adding notices wherever needed, it became clear that this was part of a more significant problem. The signage system in place was haphazard and desperately needed an update.

Wonderful World of Wayfinding

Before creating and implementing a new wayfinding and information system for the Fleet Science Center, we needed to educate all stakeholders on what a wayfinding system was. Many of the people involved thought that we had to update the graphics on the current signage. However, this was a unique case for several reasons: firstly, the exhibits changed regularly, creating a need for a sustainable and flexible system; and secondly, due to exhibit change-outs, the walls of the building changed to accommodate the newest exhibit. In this case, it was more about creating a system that would live on in a constantly evolving ecosystem.

To prove myself, I took on the task of creating a presentation explaining in lay terms what the graphic design and exhibit team attempted to accomplish. However, first I needed to educate myself thoroughly. What followed was a period of intensive study, borrowing books from those who had studied the subject recently and too many notes. The following is the presentation that resulted from that hard work, and it won over some of the most stubborn stakeholders. In the end, we got the go-ahead to begin the project.

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All Good Things Come to an End

Unfortunately, my time at the Fleet Science Center ended before I could finish the project that had wormed its way under my skin. While I'm disappointed I could not be a part of the further journey, the skills learned were well worth the time spent. Below is a collection of further exploration for my vision of the Fleet's signage.