Rochester’s Mystery Book

Making sense of the riddles wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Project: Exhibition identity and interpretation graphics   Client: Rochester Cathedral

After three years of highly skilled renovations, Rochester Cathedral proudly revealed its beautifully refurbished mediaeval crypt housing the ‘Rochester’s Mystery Book’ exhibition.

We were commissioned to develop an identity and design the graphics for this opening exhibition. Working closely with the exhibition contractors, the project included case displays, interpretation panels, a word shower and a nine metre long timeline combining words and images beginning in AD 604, when the cathedral was founded, and ending in 2012 with the Olympic Games in London.

‘Rochester’s Mystery Book’ is called the Textus Roffensis and is the first code of English law written during the early 1120s. Described as ‘Britain’s Hidden Treasure’ by the British Library, it is one of the important documents in English history and influenced the wording of Magna Carta of 1215.

“If a mouth or an eye becomes damaged, one is to compensate with 12 shillings,” exhorts the book, the four front teeth, meanwhile, are worth six shillings apiece, while “if one strikes off a thumb, 20 shillings”.

Rochester's Mystery Book
The exhibition ident
Rochester Cathedral restored crypt
The newly restored crypt at Rochester Cathedral
‘Rochester’s Mystery Book’, the Textus Roffensis on display with the start of the timeline behind
Visitors are showered with words from the book projected from a gobo suspended from the ceiling above
Timeline Design Rochester Cathedral
The longest section of the timeline
Significant historic events are intertwined with important cathedral milestones
Time design Rochester Cathedral
For visitors with visual impairments, 3D tactile objects were created and added to the timeline
An explainer graphic
One of the case displays
Graphics for tablet computers which are set at natural break points within the timeline
Section of a children’s activity table
Spinning blocks for younger visitors to play with
Illustrations created by local community groups are used as glass manifestations

So you found us!
We think it’s a sign…

As we see it, the fact that you stumbled on this column means one of two things.

Either you’re a curious and discerning soul who spotted the little arrow. Or you’re here because someone else tipped you off — and so you probably know someone who knows us.

Either way, we see it as a good sign and want to give you a little ‘something’ right now.

We invite you to:

Have a peek at this great article that inspired a recent blog. (And see 15 clever logos with genius hidden meanings.)

Take a look at this ‘briefing prompt list’ — so you can hit the ground running with your chosen creative agency *

* Send us this briefing prompt list back to us completed and we’ll come back to you with a free ‘taster’ call.