Once upon a time in Crete
The Back Story
The Museum was founded in 1953 and is run by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies, with the aim of preserving and showcasing the cultural heritage of Crete from early Byzantine times to the modern era. From its beginnings, the Historical Museum of Crete has been animated by a pioneering spirit. We were asked to redesign the museum’s identity along with a series of digital applications. Our goal was to bring those applications together in a way that they compliment each other creating a network of information that covers the various needs of the museum.
The Design System
All of the museum’s brand applications were to be designed to project a modern, but at the same time in close contact with its traditional roots.
Defining the identity
The heritage of the Historical Museum of Crete is equally important to the Greek people and those who come from all over the world to see its exhibitions. We created an identity that although modern it would carry the weight of the historical artifacts in the museum collections. The initial letters of the Greek words for Historical Museum of Crete were kept for both versions of the logo, and they were matched with the logo for the Society of Cretan Historical Studies, as a connection of the new with the old.
To achieve the goal of information unification, we had to find and take advantage of the various touch points the museum used to contact its visitors. Its website was the major gateway through which people could find information, for current and past activities and exhibitions. We set the website to be the main pillar of our strategy.
We built the rest of the touch points in relation, or in contrast with the website, depending the type of information they communicated. In any case the web site functioned as a catalyst for the rest of the applications. That provided a central point for the people of the museum to organize and deliver their various promotional activities.
in the making
Corporate Web Site
Designing a web site for a museum is never an easy task. Especially if it is a proactive one like the Historical Museum of Crete, the information can be overwhelming for the visitor. And with various visual aesthetics through the different exhibitions, it is a challenge to create something to bring them all together without ending up a visual mess. We used a modular design to break down the information and present it in a way that does not interfere with the different types of exhibitions. We balanced that with avoiding a generic presentation, giving a distinct character to the site.
To complete the digital presentation we were asked to create a touchscreen guide for the museum. It provides the visitor with the basic information for the various rooms and exhibitions. We designed to be a natural element of the museum, visually be part of the space and time.
Although it uses modern design elements and technology, it has the same character as if it is an exhibit. It uses a central interface that follows the user throughout their exploration, providing a quick and easy way to get the desired information at any time.
in times of war
Exhibition Mini Site
Rudo Schwarz was a German soldier that during WWII was stationed in Crete. During that time he created a large number of artworks and photographs depicting the local people and land. His archive was donated after his death for an exhibition in the IMK and we were asked to create a mini site to promote the event, presenting his work.
The mini site not being part of the main digital presentation of the museum, had its own design theme based on the material from Schwarz’s archive. That way we were able to present the artworks in an environment that resembled its original form.
Wrapping it up
Designing the applications that deliver information to thousands of people is always an exciting task. Even more when that information is related to the heritage and tradition of a land like Crete. Our challenge was to bring that tradition up to date and make it relative to people, foreign and local.
Another challenging goal was to find a way to present the museums exhibits through the various applications, without stealing the visitor’s attention from them. The visitor consciously takes in the information the museum and its exhibits provide, but unconsciously also receives the way this information is presented to them. The balance is crucial to achieve the best possible experience.