The National Gallery of Canada (NGC), located next to the Canadian Mint and across from the Chateau Laurier and Ottawa’s Byward Market, is considered an iconic exhibition venue for renowned national and international art. Designed by architects Moshe Safdie and Cornelia Oberlander, the gallery prioritizes accessibility and access to art for the public: opening the way for appreciation of the finest in artistic expression by Canadians and tourists alike. A recent renovation and rebranding of the Gallery prompted a rethink of the wayfinding program.
To encourage the public to explore the NGC’s rich expressions of art and humanity, Entro overhauled the wayfinding program examining elements from gallery identification, room numbering, printed maps and in-place directories to directional signage, distraction patterns and other environmental graphics with particular emphasis on how all these elements work together to offer a holistic system that supports a best-in-class visitor experience. We conducted visibility and legibility studies and assessed the flow of the gallery’s visitors and staff in both public and back of house spaces.
As with much of our work in museums and galleries, care is taken to make recommendations that balance signage and informational communications within the space so as to manage visual clutter and not overpower the art works all the while assisting visitors to find their way through the gallery with ease.
Signage design and material choices include a clean, contemporary look for textual information in News Gothic typeface on dark charcoal acrylic panels with a bright red inner core to assist with visibility. This colour choice also ties into the new NGC visual identity and thus reinforces the museum’s rebranding. The 1988 building has an open concept with high ceilings and columns, so we reflected this architectural language of verticality with elongated shapes. For gallery names and numbers, we used dimensional letters in a Benton font to echo the directories and map handouts.
To find out more about the National Gallery of Canada see here.