Visitor comfort in museums: Readable labels

There are some very simple things museums can do to help a great many visitors work less hard and be more comfortable. One of the first is to create readable labels with large type and a contrasting background,  placed at a height comfortable for most visitors.

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Readability can depend on something as simple and basic as background color.

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These two labels are practically side by side in the same gallery. They are lit the same way. The designs are identical except for the background color.

 

 

Contrast can be light on dark as well as dark on light– although this motif should be used sparingly, because it’s more fatiguing. This text was readable from four or five feet away:

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From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, here’s an adaptation for visitors with visual impairments or anyone else unable to read the wall labels: a spiral bound book of label text.

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General signage should be prominent and highly legible as well. 

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