Ironbridge: The Daily Grind

The 2023 exhibition, The Daily Grind drew on the extensive Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust archive, including oral histories, diaries, and photographs, to turn the spotlight onto the lives and voices of the everyday people who worked in Ironbridge from the early the 18th century until the end of the First World War.

Using black as a base colour for titles and a textured motif that mirrored the intricate ironwork around the Coalbrookdale site, we created an identity that reflected the story of the hard work and lives of the people who were the focus of the exhibition. We gave each section of the exhibition a key colour that was used around reproductions of archive material, main interpretation panels, graphics and silhouettes of key characters to draw attention and help delineate each of the exhibition themes. We took the new Ironbridge branding to imbed the exhibition with the rest of the Trust’s visitor offer and created an inviting entrance to entice visitors into a space that had been closed for several years. This included a huge banner, entrance board (reusing a stand we had made for another project) and sourcing and spray-painting hessian sacks and old crates with the exhibition logo.

A key part of the exhibition was the first-hand accounts of workers, whose labour, blood, sweat, and skills played a key role in the Industrial Revolution and the area’s industrial success. To highlight this unique content, we created characters based on the accounts. We researched the average height and build of men, women and children from the period to create life-sized silhouettes that were printed onto cut vinyl to help tell their story and create a connection with visitors.

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