The Importance of Good Design and What I did on my Summer Vacation
I am always thinking about the importance of good design and how to express it to the non-design obsessed.
During our vacation in a New England state that will remain anonymous to protect the innocent, we attended a very fun, 1920s themed event in a trolley museum. First we were transported out to the “Speakeasy” (shhh…don’t tell the law!) by trolley. The attendees dressed in vintage clothes and they had about a dozen sponsor supported, fabulous vintage trolley cars beautifully lit, 1920s music playing, signature cocktails served, a buffet and a raffle. It was an absolutely fabulous evening, but a total disconnect from what we expected from the homemade printed invitation we received.
Our expectations were definitely exceeded, however I think this museum could do much so more for its general attendance and fund raising by investing a small amount of money into the image that they present to the world.
From the materials I received and the website, I expected a small, hometown type museum. This place was a world-class trolley museum. They had vintage trolley cars and buses and even stagecoaches going back to the 1880’s, from all over the country. They were very well restored right down to the fancy curtains and mirrors in the private cars. But the printed materials and online graphics the museum presents to the world give no indication of this.
I really liked this museum. And I understand how not-for-profit organizations work. However I am certain that they could increase their attendance and fund raising by presenting a more representative image of who they are and what they offer.
The perception of saving a few dollars by doing their graphics in-house and printing them on goldenrod paper may actually be costing this museum money in the long run, by presenting a lesser image of what they have to offer. I’d like to see this museum hire a professional designer who could communicate their image and offerings to their public as they deserve to be presented.
My suggestions for the museum:
- Hire a professional designer who can communicate the museum’s image and offerings at a glance
- Be consistent in all visual communications
- Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of those great trolleys and the fabulous gift shop
- Update the site and invest in SEO
Wishing you great success trolley museum!