If you are at the start of an interpretation panel project then you may be totally in the dark as to how much money you are going to have to raise.
There are various elements that need to be included, each of which will attract costs. If you are going for funding then 'think big'! Most funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund want a really well executed project and would rather fund adequately rather than on the cheap. Start with the top of the range and then you can scale back your ideas if necessary but 'if you don't ask you don't get'.
As a ballpark figure allow around £1000 per panel. As a rough guide the panel is split into the following elements:
Photographs or mapping
Just a few brief notes on each element:
Design: do get a professional designer and preferably one who has done interpretation panels before. There is an art to making the panel eye-catching and making sure the key points are easy to read.
Print: there are various options, from the fairly cheap dibond to top of the range panels that are virtually bomb proof. Time is also a consideration, the cheaper ones can be turned around by a printer in about a week but the prime ones will take about a month.
Frame: your panel will need to be mounted on something. Have a look around at the various options. Where your panel is sited will be a consideration, do you need a metal frame or would a hardwood frame be more suitable for the environment? If you are going for something really fancy with carving and patterns in the frame then you will need a much bigger budget!
Installation: it may be that you have volunteers locally that can put the frame and panel up for you. Otherwise you will need the services of a local handyman. In general they are quite straightforward and just need post holes dug.
Planning: you must check with your local planning authority. If you need planning then allow the money and time for the whole process.
Photographs or mapping: this is a sub-element of design. You may already have great photos but are they good enough for a really, sharp professional look? They will need to be in-focus and of a high resolution. If not, then stock libraries and professional wildlife photographers are a useful source. In general each photo will be around £10 - £50. If your panel needs a map then it will need to be drawn up professionally or if it is an OS map you will need to get the relevant licences and permissions.
Professional copywriting: you have the knowledge of your project and can probably write the panel yourself. But if you are unsure then consider using a professional, or certainly search the internet for guidelines. Do make sure you have a good proof reader on the team or consider buying in that service.
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