What was the original brief and did it change at all?
From the outset it was clear that the graphics had to play a pivotal role in helping visitors understand the structure of the show, and give this rich but disparate display visual coherence. Colour and graphics were the primary method of tying these various elements together.
Reflecting the human condition of the title, a full alphabet of human height bespoke letters was painted on both of the gallery’s longest walls. One in a colour scheme based on eye colour, the other in black. These highly abstract letterforms, each crowned by an open circle, playfully reference the incongruity of the human form, inviting a second glance as their double meaning becomes apparent.
The strongly coloured letters, alongside the matching colours of the object label texts, act as a coding system with the nearby painted plinths. The large black letters opposite, alongside the corresponding black and white instructional labels and display mechanisms made out of unfinished ply, make for an obvious contrast and introduce visitors to the participatory wall.
All information texts, captions and labels hang from pegs on the wall and are repeated on the plinths while the intimate nature of the show is reinforced in two actual size photographs that speak to each other across the gallery space. Wallpapered on the short end walls and acting as a ‘then’ and ‘now’, each shows a group portrait of people employed by the Wellcome Collection. They proudly hold their favourite object from its vast and highly engaging archive, reminding us that we all share in the experience that it so cleverly seeks to explore.