London-based branding studio SomeOne has rebranded National Museums Liverpool (NML) with the aim of “revitalising” the group of cultural institutions.
The museum group comprises The Museum of Liverpool, The World Museum, The International Slavery Museum, The Maritime Museum, The Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
The new work also covers its sub-brands, including the events business Hosted By and the dementia awareness programme, House of Memories.
“We simplified the brand architecture, then concentrated efforts to connect the many parts of the portfolio for both the visitor and the staff, without it becoming one dimesional and simplistic,” says SomeOne founder Simon Manchipp.
An “energetic” new direction
While the updated branding had to work across the venues, it also had to help the content stand out at each one. “Aquariums are very different to Wedgwood collections,” Manchipp adds. “Each part of the group has very specific collections and very specific key audiences.”
The centrepiece of the rebrand is the energy wave logo which replaces the previous brand’s blue L-shaped ribbon marque. The new design depicts the letters ‘NML’, Manchipp explains, on a colour palette of black, white and rhodamine (a bright shade of pink).
This energy wave motif runs throughout the identity, appearing on photography and merchandise. It is also used for the museum group’s printed material and can be animated.
“The new branding focuses on the group’s revitalised and energetic focus across all parts of the portfolio,” Manchipp says.
“Bold, bright rhodamine”
According to Manchipp, the rhodamine colour was chosen after a thorough brand audit with the intention of distinguishing the museums in the sector.
“We chose a colour you couldn’t ignore: bold, bright rhodamine,” he says. “Easy to reproduce in a single colour printing, rhodamine is ready-to-go, buzzing on your screen as well as eye-catching along the streets of Liverpool.”
Previously, each venue had its own colour system but they will now use the same colourway. “This individualistic design ethos, while understandably attractive to each venue, had let to many visitors leaving unaware they had visited one of the nation’s most important museum – let alone that they were connected,” Manchipp adds.
The primary typeface is Antarctica, from Swiss type foundry Newglyph. “Adaptive and contemporary, it provides the brand with a great amount of flex,” Manchipp says. The contrast weights help to convey a “premium brand feel”, while the regular weights are legible for body copy, the designer adds.
Wayfinding and iconography
SomeOne has also designed the wayfinding for the museums, with details inspired by the energy wave logo.
Bespoke iconography incorporates rounded corners and the tapered stroke ends from the curved shape, for example.
Lead project designer Libby Tsoi says that this “creates the feeling of a constant movement and pulse” as the wave morphs and adapts to icons.
Minimalism was a driving principle for the iconography, she explains. “Each pictogram represents an idea with as few elements as possible to communicate in the most efficient manner,” Tsoi says.
She adds: “They now share a common visual language that helps the organisation reinforce the brand at every part of the visitor journey.”
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