The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
Published on 23 March 2023 in the categoryMuseums
The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is the highly celebrated regional public gallery of Wiradjuri Country in the Central West of NSW. Every year they present a dynamic program of contemporary art exhibitions, education programs, artist commissions, public art, and the prestigious Hill End Artists in Residence Program (HEAR).
In 2022, with a new program to be announced, BRAG approached the Interaction Consortium to provide them with a revamped website that would facilitate all that they do.
The process started with a visit to the gallery to meet the team and to immerse ourselves in the art, the atmosphere and the story of the gallery and city.
We quickly learnt that the Gallery needed two things:
- The first was a functional one. The Gallery needed a site that provided all the logistical information of the gallery in a clear and direct way. This included access information, upcoming events and exhibitions, public art submissions and membership programs.
- The second need was one around identity. In the absence of a visual identity the site would have to serve as the major reference for the Gallery’s personality and tone, as well as to develop a unifying aesthetic that could be used across their digital presence.
The communication challenges that museums face are common and familiar to us. But what made BRAG’s situation unique was their management of the Hill End Artist Residency, a historic program that has included Russel Drysdale, Margaret Olley and John Olsen amongst its alumni.
To get a clear idea of the site’s messaging, we started with priority guides – a card sorting exercise that groups together similar blocks of information based on users’ intuition and expectations.
Priority guides are a great way to clearly articulate and order page elements without being bogged down by design requirements. It is also an efficient way to communicate the information hierarchy to the design team.
What resulted was an elegant system of organisation which formed the skeleton on which we could hang the information. It also clarified the hierarchy of information both for the site as a whole and for individual pages.
No one knows the personality of an organisation better than those who live it, and our conversations with Sarah Gurich (BRAG Director), Julian Woods (BRAG Audience Engagement Officer) and Jo Dicksen (BRAG Arts Administrator) led us to land on five key brand traits:
- An unobtrusive vessel
Using these traits as the basis for our ideas we decided to base our concept around the speech bubble of their logo.
It seemed to be a perfect choice. The idea of speech invoked the idea of sharing knowledge and there was an elegance in its simplicity. It also felt like the “unobtrusive vessel” that the Gallery was – a container that showcases the art within its walls.
We used this speech bubble as a recurring visual motif throughout the site.
From page banners:
It can even be extended to print:
Thank you to the team at BRAG for hosting us on that cold winter morning and thank you for the opportunity to reinvent your site.
Please have a look at the BRAG project page for more details on the work and feel free to drop us a line if you'd like to have a chat.