[see feature p54]. The only limitation to this brand is the imagination of the designer who executes against it. What is the purpose of a visual brand? Value, identification, emotion, feeling? The Tate brand stands apart as much as its ex-power station modern home. As Tate builds a new wing and pushes forward I am strongly in favour of keeping that beautifully adaptive logo.
The Wolff Olins-designed identity for Tate and a banner at Tate Modern. The design team was headed up by WO chair Brian Boylan and creative director, Marina Willer, now a partner at Pentagram in London. Photos: Tate Photography © Tate 2013
Tate logo as shown on glass partitioning
Whitney Museum of American Art
Designed by Experimental Jetset in 2013, this brand was launched to coincide with the Whitney’s collections moving to a new space next to New York’s High Line in 2015. When it was first released I overlooked its conceptual rigour as, visually, it felt a little fragile. This, combined with the Dutch studio’s adherence to Helvetica and its many variants, also made it easy to forget. I don’t subscribe to the Massimo Vignelli-like belief that a few typefaces can service every brand. We’ve seen great ideas dressed in the same clothes as many other of the studio’s projects, making it more about the designers and their beliefs and less about the gallery’s change. This view then pivoted 180˚ when I visited the gallery for the first time last year. I now see it as a great example of architecture and brand working as one, to the point that it’s a pioneer in many ways, though I’m still not into the Neue Haas Grotesk. We’re not always lucky enough to visit a building when we first see its identity (often viewing it online), but seeing it as it’s intended made this one come to life.
Press ad for Art Forum designed by Hilary Greenbaum, photography by Jens Mortensen
(Left)Handbook of the Collection designed by Greenbaum. Each iteration relates to the ‘responsive W’ system designed by Experimental Jetset. At its launch in 2013, the studio revealed that all items using the new identity would be produced by the Whitney’s in-house design team, headed up by its director of graphic design, Hilary Greenbaum, photography by Jens Mortensen; (Right) Directional signage designed by Francesca Grassi, Meg Forsyth, Keri Bronk. Signage Partner: Entro Communications. Photo by Ben Gancsos
Why Not Associates
Viewed from the UK, the European gallery often seems a looser, more creative affair. Less about commercial footfall and more about the celebration of art, however obscure it may be. Identities convey the feeling and values of organisations that match a public need. This new identity from Why Not Associates very much fits into this idea: loose and playful, with simple block colours and silhouettes derived from both the Antwerp arts venue’s former logo, designed by Herbert Binneweg in 1979 (it appears on the facade of the original main block), and its various buildings. This European flavour, even though it was designed in London, feels perfect, with a design that could have been made at any point in the last decade. Each poster utilises the specific exhibition or show image, without losing the venue identity in the mix. No mean feat and one I would venture will stick around for quite a while.
Poster for actor/singer Liesa Van der Aa’s forthcoming performance of her album
Leaflet for Amanda Piña and Daniel Zimmermann’s performance of War later this year
The Hepworth Wakefield
A Practice for Everyday Life
Does a gallery brand have to operate differently if it doesn’t occupy a place in a dense metropolis? Many regional galleries often feel that they do, to create a splash and drive visitors, resulting in identities that feel overly try-hard and cheap. The Hepworth Wakefield doesn’t have such an issue, its confidence creates an attractive consistency to its output. The UK’s largest purpose-built museum outside of London, it was named in honour of the famous British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, whose birthplace the gallery sits near. The typographic approach takes its formal cues from the David Chipperfield-designed building, itself derived from the local pitched roofs of Wakefield. Typography with reason and ideas can be rare, but in this case the results are restrained, confident and simple. A great design which echoes the work of the sculptor herself, making something that feels timeless.
Exhibition signage in the Hepworth in Context gallery; The APFEL identity on the gallery’s facade. All images © A Practice for Everyday Life; Lead image, The exterior of The Hepworth Wakefield, designed by David Chipperfield and featuring the identity by A Practice for Everyday Life
This article was published in the Museums issue of Creative Review, July 2016.
Read more here:: Five museums with great graphic identities