Having decided on your aims, the themes and the media you are going to use, you’re nearly at the production stage. Stop and get someone to check the accuracy of what you are going to say – it could be an officer at the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority or a knowledgeable local person or another organisation.
Most interpretation involves writing text. It may be the text for a leaflet, panel or website, or the script for an audio guide, guided walk or performance. Clarity and an arresting, but friendly, writing style, are essential. Your text needs to attract people’s attention and be easy and enjoyable to read. It also needs to relate to visitors’ experience and follow a logical order so it’s easy to understand. Good interpretive writing is hard work – it looks easy but it takes time and effort. You can find advice in the HERIAN toolkit and Scottish Natural Heritage have produced a very useful series of guidelines for interpretation.
Good design is a critical element of all printed and graphic interpretive materials, as well as electronic media and 2D and 3D installations. It’s the first thing that people notice and is what will attract people to your interpretation, or turn them away. It is the organisation of the visual elements. Interpretive design is a specialist subject and you’ll need to find a designer with relevant experience. For interpretive design, it’s vital that the designer understands the theme and messages your interpretation aims to convey – so that the design enhances the theme and creates a cohesive unit.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has developed a brand for the National Park that can be used by other organisations. This helps to give interpretation materials throughout the National Park a more uniform look and can help organisations as it associates them with the National Park brand. Dehongli Cymru, Interpret Wales, has a directory of interpretive services on their website, www.dehonglicymru.co.uk and www.interpretwales.co.uk The Welsh Language Board can provide advice on bilingual design. You can also find design companies that specialise in interpretation on the Association for Heritage Interpretation website.
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