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Interpretive Panels & Things to Consider When Designing Your Signage

What are Interpretive Panels?

Panels are ideal for any type of interpretive exhibit where patrons will be in need of guidance as to the purpose of the exhibit or the history relevant to that space.  Interpretive signs are commonly used in museums, galleries, for art work and historical sites to help guests interpret the exhibit by explaining the piece or providing additional background information.

Designing Interpretive Panels

Excellent quality ones tend to combine imaginative text, rich design and evocative imagery to make a place come alive to patrons who visit there. Rather than only containing information such as directions or instructions, interpretive panels create an individual’s sense of historical presence or contemporary legacy. Some of the most prominent panels are those cast in bronze because it lends a strong presence to these pieces and can accumulate natural patinas with time, giving the viewer a sense of historicity and cultural longevity.

Using Cast Bronze for Interpretive Panels

Why is bronze so popular? Certain mediums, when used often enough for similar applications, start to gain an authority on their own and become the desired taste of a specific style of message. Bronze is long-lasting and offers a sense of stability and permanence to any structure. Especially popular with corporate clients and professionals, bronze can lend itself well to any office building or the sophisticated home. The variety available in bronze is very large and diverse depending on your preference for the typeface (font) or how you want to finish your lettering.

As mentioned, the final look of bronze can change over time, developing patinas, or the greenish layers that unfold on bronze over time. The look of aged bronze conjures up images of old Europe and important art institutions. Many clients love this style, particularly for artisanal sculptural or statue work, as the green finish that comes to bronze with time carries the weight and prestige of history with it. With Behrends, this natural process can easily be mimicked and sped up with the application of various processes to develop patinas, and we have had multiple requests to do so in our 60+ years in the industry.

The level of variety available with bronze is directly related to our long and diverse experience with it. Since this is what Behrends started out doing, we have perfected many different techniques involving bronze allowing you to customize a variety of details to make your plaque your very own. Bronze is a great choice for custom designed cast metal plaques like bas relief because it is able to hold high levels of fine detail, is durable and long-lasting, and has a wide range of available finishes and patinas.

Important Items to Consider When Choosing Your Panel Designer

Here are some important things to consider when choosing the designer of your interpretive panels, especially when you are considering Behrends Group. We have gotten this stuff down to a science so for brilliant results every time, come to us.

  • People decide within seconds whether or not they want to read your sign so the design and writing are both critical. It has to be interesting and easy-to-read, with a simple typography and not too much or too little writing.
  • Quality text means quality writing as well. Too much jargon or technical writing might be off-putting for your patrons . The writing also has to be active and engaging to capture the attention of your audience and bring them into the world you are interpreting for them.
  • Visuals that may or may not be included on your interpretive panel should offer different information than the writing but also corresponds to the story that is being told. The same thing goes for maps as well, if needed.

Signage Design

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