Reactive, ephemeral, event-based signaletics

10 million visitors, four very different sites, around forty exhibitions, almost all staged in architecture designed for the occasion, rail, road and lake links, daily events and more.

During the six months it was open, the signage had to guide, inform and identify. We were entrusted with the problem less than ten months before the opening, but the layout and architecture had already been defined. We had to work within the existing structure and make it legible. The first conceptual choice was to develop not one, but four very different visual languages. This distinction between cultural information, structural operations, sponsor branding and Expo.02 identification made it possible to greatly simplify each of the media. Both the design and the graphics emphasised the ephemeral nature of the operation: recycled everyday objects, sometimes diverted from their original function, a "raw" design that did not seek to seduce with its aesthetic appeal, typography using the typeface chosen by the expo for its communication.

Whereas cultural signage expresses profusion and festivity, the exhibition's instructions for use, particularly the language of pictograms, asserts an approach that is event-based, local and contextual rather than universal. Through this family of signs, the Chinese illustrator Zhang Lu has created a portrait of everyday life in Switzerland, reinforced by the systematic use of multilingualism, going beyond the country's four languages to include, in a non-hierarchical way, those of immigrant minorities.

Ruedi Baur, Intégral Ruedi Baur, October 2002

The signaletics for Expo.02 was grouped into different types:

Intégral Ruedi Baur, Paris, France

Art Direction
Ruedi Baur

General coordination
Martine Harlé

Graphic designers
Eva Kubinyi, Claudia Wildermuth

Graphics team
Christel Aunay, Anne Bourdais, Laurence Duchemin, Christian Garon, Joseph Guiton, Nicolai Klohk, Stephan Knobloch, Indra Magnani, Claudia Moser

Illustrations and pictograms
Zhang Lu

Maintax font characters
Zhang Lu

Digitalisation of the font characters
André Baldinger

Three-dimensional media development
Simon Burkart, Karim Sabano

Three-dimensional media team
David Ganzoni, Marceline Ruckstuhl

On-site implementation coordination
Nathalie Prost, Cécile Stahlkopf, Alexia Telitsine

Graphic design Immeuble Haie
Denis Coueignoux, Michelle Gubser, Nathalie van Doxell, Martine Scrive

Thematic images
Anne Frémy

Signaletics production
Rutschi Zürich AG (Kurt Rutschi, Jonas Bosshart, Patrick Felderbaum. Daniel Früh, Kathrin Gerber, Sébastien Martin, Anton Walser, Claude Wyler, Bettina Zobrist), Zurich