Signage Showcase: Muhammad Ali Center

by Christina Krenek

Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxing champion of all-time, passed away on June 3, 2016. Upon hearing of his death, thousands of Ali fans flocked to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, to celebrate his lasting impact on sports and society. The Ali Center, a museum and cultural center that opened in Louisville in 2005, would soon be flooded with visitors looking to reconnect with their hero’s history. Let’s take a look at how the Ali Center used a variety of signage solutions to create an experience that Ali fans would never forget.

Memorial Banner

Memorial banner

The Ali Center is located on N 6th St, where a pedestrian bridge gives easy access to the museum. When passing the museum, a giant banner commemorating Ali could be seen featuring an image of a younger Ali as well as an image from his later years. This banner served as an appropriate memorial to the legend as well as a way to identify the museum to tourists.


Building entrance sign

The center welcomes guests with colorful signs at the entrance of the museum. The dimensional letters, with a diverse set of fonts and colors, reflects the multicultural background of Ali and the communities that celebrate him.

Quote Mural

Quote mural

Perhaps Ali’s most famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” is presented on a mural outside of the museum. The impressive display stretches nearly 30 feet with bold wall graphics and a powerful portrait of an expressive Ali.


Wayfinding sign

Enter the museum, and you’ll find hours, directions and the Ali Center logo and motto: “Be Great. Do Great Things”. Basic wayfinding signage, although it comes with less fanfare than banners or murals, will always be a valuable piece of the museum puzzle.

Donor Wall

Donor wall

Non-profit museums like the Ali Center rely on the donations of a generous few. These donors deserve recognition, and many museums choose to show their appreciation with donor walls. The Ali donor wall is a beautiful tribute, recognizing each with their own butterfly and a fitting message: “You give us wings.”

Wall of Respect

Wall of respect sign

Move along through the museum, and the Wall of Respect quickly jumps out with its consistent butterfly theme. Another well-executed wall graphic frames the display – a collection of photos of Ali admirers and their memories of “The People’s Champion”.

Memorial signs

Memorial signage

Photo credit: Stevietheman

As you hit the heart of the museum, the main display area showcases a collage of cutouts, glass displays and digital screens replaying Ali’s finest moments. Magazine covers, a backlit timeline and more quote murals create an immersive experience that shows just how many people were affected by Ali’s words and actions.

The Muhammad Ali Center would see a record amount of visitors that month with Ali fans coming from all parts of the world. A public memorial service was held on June 10, 2016, at the KFC! Yum Center in front of a sold-out crowd. The Ali Center showed how signage can be used to create a vibrant environment and powerful experience in a museum atmosphere. If you have any ideas for displays in your museum, contact our professionals at 800-FASTSIGNS.

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