at the National Aquarium in Baltimore
Animal Encounters is an educational segment that introduces guests to different animals from the various exhibits with the opportunity to see them up close and personal and ask aquarium animal experts questions.
The original was dated, having been installed about 30 years ago, and no longer fit into the National Aquarium’s new brand. The design consists of two components: a 60 in x 35 in poster and an accompanying 23 in x 23 in square schedule. Both are set into a large geometric square block.
Observation + Sketching
While observing a session, what stood out to me the most was the presenters.
Each had their own method of captivating the young children seated at their feet with fun facts and curious, thought provoking questions--which led to my first idea: integrating that sense of mystery into the design.
Combining silhouetted animals with questions and high contrast colors, the idea was to
create a sense of mystery that would entice children and their parents over to the encounters. They would be non-complex questions related to the animal being presented
and would be answered when the presenter brought out the animal in question.
Since there were multiple encounters throughout the day featuring different animals,
the center piece needed to be changeable. The circle in the center would be printed on magnetic film with a separate detachable piece that could be interchanged easily with a
nother throughout the day. In addition to the animal mystery design, I also sketched two alternatives, one based on our other interactive exhibition, "Living Seashore," and the
window displays adjacent to the Animal Encounters related to our dolphins.
Presentation + Revision
In preparation for our meeting with guest services, we prepared one additional option, but I was given the go-ahead to move forward with the animal mystery option.
While revising the project, guest services decided that it would be more logical to have a non-magnetic center piece with an open-ended question. Additionally, designs were traditionally limited to two brand colors rather than three.
Finalization + Installation
We first printed a large scale mock-up of the finalized design to help fully visualize the installation and how well it integrated into the space.
After making a few final tweaks, the final installation was printed on black sintra and hung from grommet holes with the individual time slots for the schedule printed on magnetic film.