Putting London’s iconic museum in the frame

The National Gallery

The National Gallery

Putting London’s iconic museum in the frame
client
The National Gallery
location
London, UK
size
46,000 m²

The National Gallery is a renowned cultural institution. Among a number of visitor issues, the 19th Century Portico entrance was struggling to perform as a 21st Century welcome, confusing visitors at the start of their viewing experience.

Applied’s wayfinding strategy identified the key issues and highlighted the principal interventions needed to improve the visitor experience. This involved a comprehensive overhaul in the museum’s signage and printed maps, to promote primary pathways of the building. Architectural changes, to open up view-lines were also proposed.

6 million

annual visitors

5

entrances

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Lawrence Chiles
Head of Digital Services

Applied demonstrated the ability to deliver quality work at both the strategic and detailed level. The team were great to work with and I would highly recommend.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

Language of the Gallery
Reaching a solution involved debate about the use of language. The names of iconic artists, rather than more nebulous art periods, provided directional choices.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

Language of the Gallery
Reaching a solution involved debate about the use of language. The names of iconic artists, rather than more nebulous art periods, provided directional choices.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

Language of the Gallery
Reaching a solution involved debate about the use of language. The names of iconic artists, rather than more nebulous art periods, provided directional choices.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

Language of the Gallery
Reaching a solution involved debate about the use of language. The names of iconic artists, rather than more nebulous art periods, provided directional choices.

An Iconic Gallery
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery in London houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, to J.M.W. Turner.

A balancing act
The National Gallery’s intimate structure feels like you are wandering around someone’s Georgian house. This fundamental charm had wayfinding implications — too many signs would ruin this unique atmosphere, too few would leave visitors feeling lost and unable to explore.

Studying movement patterns
Using anonymised wifi data, user flow counts, observational studies and anecdotes created a picture of how visitors used the space. This showed crowded pinch-points and barren areas.

Sympathetic system
The new wayfinding system strikes a balance between helping the visitors navigate while giving them freedom to explore and wander. While deploying minimum quantities of information, thumbnails of key paintings were introduced to the maps as important visual landmarks.

The new system also reinforces the existing zoning systems for the four wings of the Gallery. This approach supported routes that weren’t highlighted before.

Prototyping and testing
Working with the users of the system is the best way to test and craft concepts and designs.

Language of the Gallery
Reaching a solution involved debate about the use of language. The names of iconic artists, rather than more nebulous art periods, provided directional choices.