Bristol museums get new identities

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service is undergoing a major brand-naming exercise, ahead of fresh identities for all six of its museums and historic sites.

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service is undergoing a major brand-naming exercise, ahead of fresh identities for all six of its museums and historic sites.

The organisation, which comes under the auspices of Bristol City Council, has engaged Manchester consultancy True North for a five-figure contract that will involve the renaming and reshaping of visual identities for its destinations. It also includes a major graphics project for the forthcoming Museum of Bristol, currently in development.

The renaming of the sites within the Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service has been prompted by what Bristol City Council is billing as ‘an experiential museum of the future’. Its emergence has highlighted a need for clarification between its various sites, one of which is the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery (pictured).

‘The development of the new museum has precipitated a need to look at all the brand names and how they sit together, as well as the visual identity of the service and individual sites, and how they relate back to the service,’ explains True North creative director Alan Herron.

The brief is to devise a set of names and corresponding new visual identities for the service and each of its sites.

‘These are two prime jobs, one of which is the identity for the Museum of Bristol [the name of which is yet to be decided] which will have a knock-on effect on the other ones,’ says Herron.

‘It’s rare that you get the opportunity to brand six museums in one city. This is an opportunity to pull things together. We have to think how to link sites as different as an Elizabethan hunting lodge to the new experiential Museum of Bristol.’

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service is this week unveiling the mooted name of the forthcoming Museum of Bristol to its staff. ‘What is being developed will be an architecturally striking site on Bristol dockside, and we’ve been charged with giving it a name and identity to match,’ says Herron.

Bristol City Council has also appointed exhibition design group Event Communications to help create content for the new museum, which is scheduled to open after 2011. Its collection is expected to link together seemingly disparate objects by theme, as opposed to chronology.

‘We expect to be working with Event on where experience graphics end and building graphics begin. Architect Lab will work with True North to produce signage, information and structural graphics for the museum,’ adds Herron.

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service’s portfolio includes Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery, Blaise Castle House Museum, Red Lodge and Georgian House. It administers each of the sites and oversees HR, finance and properties, as well as programme policies.

True North won a public tender derived from an initial shortlist of ten consultancies in March.

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Service portfolio includes

• Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery is a major museum and art gallery housing a diverse range of objects, from sea dinosaurs to fine art

• Blaise Castle House Museum is a 19th century mansion set in 160ha of parkland and home to the social history collection

• Red Lodge is an Elizabethan hunting lodge

• Georgian House is an 18th century merchant’s house

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