The Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis

Immersing visitors into the story of ancient mosaics.

Illustration + Spacial Design + Consultation & Supervision + Animation





project info
The Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis, the predecessor of today’s Plovdiv, is the largest Early Christian temple in Bulgaria. Through excavation, analysis, and research, the archaeologists determined that between the 2nd and 14th centuries this place teemed with life. Today, the place is a visitor center, fulfilling its original purpose to gather people together.
America for Bulgaria Foundation invited us to collaborate on the project and develop the graphic design for the museum exposition of the Bishop’s Basilica in Philippopolis. The scale and significance of the project, as well as the challenge it opened for us, was intriguing and in no time we were on board.
–   A bilingual visual system
–   100+ exhibition materials
–   Over 10 variations of reader rails
–   More than 50 illustrations

Design System

With more than a hundred materials, ranging widely in size and shape, we had to create a flexible, bilingual system that would accommodate varying type of information. And lots of it. Our main objective was for all exhibition materials to be easily accessible, clear and engaging to a diverse group of visitors – from kids to adults.


Due to the large amounts of texts, the copy became a central figure in constructing the layout. We created a simple block composition that helped us quickly adapt different types of content (images, illustrations, texts and graphics) to varying sizes and proportions. You could say we let the content guide and create the layout.

Typography & Color

Having in mind our text-heavy content, finding the right typeface was top priority. For the titles, we chose Bebas Neue - a sans serif typeface with narrow characteristics. It helped us make long titles more compact. For the main text, we used the type family Mont. Mont is also a sans serif font, with clean and geometric proportions which makes long paragraphs easier to read. 


The color palette had an essential role in differentiating the bilingual text and helping visitors navigate easily through the layout. The palette contains four natural colors inspired by the mosaics. For the Bulgarian text, we used dark blue and for the English - text brick red. The background color for most of the materials was Ivory and we also added a warm orange to highlight important elements.


Illustration Style

Throughout the project there was extensive use of illustration which served to set the atmosphere and context for the ruins and fragments in the museum. Since historical data is scarce, accurate reconstruction was impossible and the illustrations tiptoe the line between universal and specific, filling in the gaps to help the viewer imagine what life may have been like in ancient Philippopolis.


Discovery Zone

The Discovery Zone is an interactive play area on the second floor. It aims to make the site's complex story accessible, relevant and exciting to children. Our mural illustrations talk about different professions related to the site – like archeologists, excavators, forensics, etc. Information materials relate about the everyday life of people throughout the centuries, how we learn about them through skeletons and ancient stones, how we date them, and many more. It’s safe to say that adults also find their way to the area and give the various modules a try.



Creative Direction: Ivaylo Nedkov
Graphic Design: Tsvetislava Koleva
Illustration: Bogdana Peeva
Animation: Pavel Pavlov / Atanas Giew / Alex Zhelyazkov
Client Service: Vera Schwartz / Venelina Miteva
Photography: FourPlus Studio / Studio Blenda
Video Production: handplayed
User Journey and Exhibition Design: SKOLNICK Architecture + Design
Mosaic Restoration: Elena Kantareva - Decheva