Factors Affecting the Role of Designers
Publication: Museum Management and Curatorship Journal
The application and significance of what is commonly known as interpretation design is increasing as museums and other cultural institutions seek to attract, educate and engage visitors, yet the field remains under-examined in relation to its methods,
management and outputs. Institutional practices outside the mainstream museum sector have often not kept pace with interpretation design’s role, and museum professionals often lack understanding of design and experience in its management.
Research into practice and articulation of the designer’s knowledge supports the optimal contribution of design expertise. Based on interviews with practitioners, the
paper examines the factors that influence the role of consultant interpretation designers. Timing of engagement, sequencing of contracts and client understanding of interpretation design emerge as the key factors that affect the scope and clarity of the designer’s role and effective application of their expertise. The paper argues that interpretation design by external consultants can be more strategic and effective when supported by appropriate project structures.