From Nike’s “swoosh” symbol to the iconic Apple logo, brands know that a strong identity is essential to their success. The same is true for museum logo design.
Museums have also embraced the power of brand. With the world’s best known institutions crafting infamy not only with their collections, exhibitions and buildings, but also with strong communications that cut through the noise of our modern media landscape.
Below are five museum logo’s launched in the past twelve months that caught our attention. From Sydney to Buenos Aires to Paris, all have invested in their museum branding to help them to reach new audiences or reinvent how people think about their institutions.
Les Catacombes de Paris
The Catacombes de Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France, which hold the remains of more than six million people. First opened in to the public in 1874, it is today one of 14 City of Paris Museums managed by Paris Musées.
The new logo design for the Catacombes was designed by the French design agency Mo-To with a custom typeface created by Thomas Bouville. The logo combines the C with a graphical representation of a skull to reflect the most memorable symbol of the historic site, while the typography is influenced by letters carved into the Catacombes.
It’s a bold logo which has faced some criticism for the “disneyfication” of a historically significant burial site. Personally I like it’s wit and can see the benefit of making a taboo subject such as death more approachable.
Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art which is known locally as The Modern rebranded in October a year after a major renovation. While the museum will officially still be Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires the designers Gorricho Diseño noted that the museum had been known as many acronyms since it was founded in 1956 and took the opportunity to define the name afresh.
The new name allowed the designers to develop a playful double “m” logo for the museum which can be detached from the type to create an impactful symbol that can work on its own.
Museum of the History of Photography
The Museum of the History of Photography is the only museum in Poland devoted to photography. In order to make the museum more appealing to foreign-speaking visitors and with a major renovation in mind the museum announced earlier this year that it was changing it name to MuFo and introducing a new logo designed by Podpunkt.
The new museum logo design introduces the eye as the central symbol, this is expand into a series of eye and camera abstractions across the museums communications.
The AZ Museum is a private museum dedicated to a single artist, Anatoly Zverev. Founded in 2015, the Museum houses а daunting collection of works by the main representative of unofficial Soviet art wave.
Designed by ONY Agency, the museums logo design uses the initials to great effect across all communications. This suggest the breadth of both the collection and temporary exhibitions. As the designers explain it, “These two letters contain the whole collection of the museum”.
Australian National Maritime Museum
The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour welcomes over 850,000 visitors annually. The new museum logo designed by Frost* signals the strategic repositioning “aiming to get people thinking more broadly about the sea and our relationship – both as a country and as individuals – with it”.
The logo and the playful logo suggest a more accessible institution which is more relevant to modern Australia.
The Best Museum Logo Design?
All of the museum logo’s above were launched in 2019. Which museum logo design has caught your eye this year? Let us know on Twitter.
About the author – Jim Richardson
Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with the museum sector on technology and innovation projects for more than twenty years and now splits his time between delivering consultancy, innovation workshops and conferences.