Museum design - Flipbook pros and cons

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Published: 01st November 2012
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When choosing the appropriate graphical display strategy for museum planning; exhibit designers have many choices, which include: Interpretive panels, digital media and other supplementary methods like exhibit flipbooks (sometimes referred to as graphic holders).

Though not the chief system to showcase exhibit interpretive graphics and information; flipbooks are a viable option that should be taken into consideration while in the exhibit preparation process. The phrase ‘flipbook’ is not a commonly used expression in exhibit planning; even so, many designers have noticed, built or obtained a form of these kinds of products for a supplemental technique for displaying exhibit information.

Interpretive flipbooks are analogous to the well known note-paper binder widely used for school and business, however, they are made from extremely sturdy materials including a robust central binding mechanism to retain laminated pages. These flipbooks typically lay open near or even in the front of the exhibit. Book pages are accessible to visitors and offer an easy interactive experience while the guests flip book pages and interact with the graphics and information presented. The interpretive pages are generally laminated with flexible or high-pressure laminate (HPL/dHPL) materials to increase resilience.

Listed below, is a reflection on a few flipbook Pro’s and Con’s.


Flipbooks are primarily valuable when open space is limited to showcase exhibit information and where an easy visitor interactive experience is desired. A flipbook containing 8” x 11” or 11” x 17” pages is capable of supporting approximately the equivalent of 48 square feet of exhibit info while just taking up a two square-foot footprint.

A properly made flipbook constructed with top quality components should provide:

• Extraordinary sturdiness to handle thousands of page turns without breaking.

• Visitors with limited dexterity the ability to turn or flip pages and interact with the information.

• An easy option to expand or modify details and illustrations. This option is incredibly helpful for exhibits similar to zoos and aquariums, whenever exhibit varieties are replaced or increased regularly.

• Security attributes as a fundamental aspect of the structure to safeguard against vandalism.

• Full guarantee for a minimum of ten years.


Flipbooks do not have the comparable long-distant visibility of standard installed interpretive panels affixed to a wall structure and will require the museum visitor to physically turn book pages.

In addition, when employed in exhibit layout; if a flipbook isn't engineered correctly, the visitor encounter is not optimized and may even be adversely affected.

Inadequately designed flipbooks typically have these particular defects:

• Interpretive pages are not easily turned and don't fulfill American with Disabilities Act design concerns.

• Inappropriate selection of laminate substances will end up in pages tearing or falling out within several months of unit installation.

• Poor binding style or methods of securing pages, contributes to the exhibit books falling apart and won't hold up against the tens of thousands of page-flips essential for exhibits with substantial traffic.

• Substandard materials and design allows for UV breakdown and possible vandalism.

• Most flipbooks are not created to enable pages to be simply switched if exhibit data must be changed.

In conclusion; interpretive flipbooks or supplemental graphics holders certainly are a very important a component of a museum planner’s tool-set. There are lots of benefits of using flipbooks whenever layout situations or aims merit this kind of choice. Nevertheless, the museum flipbook layout must be properly thought out and created with quality components so as to enrich the user experience and permit visitors of limited skills to interact with the interpretive illustrations and information.


For additional information on museum planning suggestions using flipbooks or for an indepth look into exhibit flipbooks being employed in high-end museum and additional displays across the nation, please visit:

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