Wolff Olins, The Experts On Museum Branding

Doing more research for my D&AD project and I’ve decided I really need to narrow the brand down using the usual technique of describing the brand’s values and ideals in 100, 30 and 3 words, a tchnique we were told about last year by Good Creative and one I’ve found really very helpful since.

But first I need to figure out what values this brand should have in the first place. As a point of reference I looked at prolific design and branding agency Wolff Olins, who document each project with a small case study, perfect for my research. Here’s 3 which I thought really stood out, and really helped me in terms of development for my project.

Tate Modern

Courtesy of Tate and Wolff Olins

Courtesy of Tate and Wolff Olins

Marina Willer, a fantastic designer who I got to see a talk from a week or so ago, worked on the rebrand for Tate, to make it more of a ‘people’s gallery’, less exclusive and more open feeling. It revolved around the idea of looking again or seeing something differently and did this by the unique technique of blurring the logo, something that give Tate both a unique personality in it’s branding material and a poignant reminder of what art should do – allow us to see things in a new perspective.

I felt this was important to look at as exhibition and museum or gallery branding share the challenge of being both intellectual, prestigious, yet not overpowering enough to dwarf the work contained within.

New Museum

Courtesy of New Museum and Wolff Olins

Courtesy of New Museum and Wolff Olins

The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York was needing to show it was a hub not just for art but for culture as a whole and that it was a venue in constant flux, full of the newest and most innovative creative works available. Wolff Olins shortened the name to the New Museum, and using the plan shape of the building as an axis made a bold identity which spun around the shape, using a variety of textures and colours.

This is perhaps more relevant to my concept considering it is more icon based, and whilst the idea of the icon being used as a window device is quickly becoming old it’s also very nicely executed here, meaning the brand kind of gets away with it.


November 19th - V&A

This wasn’t as much a full rebrand as the logo remained the same, but V&A effectively wanted to be seen as more contemporary and cutting edge, instead of the country’s attice for old relics. The very classically themed logo was then contrasted with much cleaner and contemporary typefaces and colours, to create some drama and contrast that really made the identity a lot easier to expand on, by the looks of things.

Listening to: Friends by Flight Of The Conchordes (oh yeah…)



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