University of Birmingham: History Through Objects

The 2022 Commonwealth Games shone a light on Birmingham, drawing global audiences to the city and, as a host venue, the University of Birmingham. The University wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate its history as a centre for research and innovation and showcasing the diverse museum artefacts and archives that it holds through an exhibition.

Design Penguin worked with the Research and Cultural Collections team to develop an overall identity for the exhibition. The result was a circular ‘parent’ brand, with each of the five exhibition themes having their own sub-brand with associated logos that were used throughout the display.  We took time to understand the tricky space we were working with (mainly corridors), and the themes and key items in the exhibition so that the graphic design enhanced each display and drew attention to the objects. By mapping out the spaces, visitor routes and display areas, the client was able visualise the exhibition.

Using a range of graphics, including vinyl wallpaper in some very hard to reach archways, all the spaces were dramatically transformed. In phase two of the project, a feedback area and signposting were added and we were delighted to design and produce a 148 page catalogue. 

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