Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust has been renamed Brighton & Hove Museums in a rebranding project led by Baxter & Bailey, designed to spotlight six cultural venues in an equitable way.
The Brighton-based studio won the project through a credentials pitch and was initially only meant to redesign the website. Baxter & Bailey creative director Matt Baxter says that after conversations with the client, the project “evolved into something much more”. It was decided that the newly named collection of venues needed “proper brand architecture and identity guidelines” as well as a website, he adds.
Baxter explains how Brighton & Hove Museums is “a significant cultural reference point” for the city, and so the new branding had to cater to everyone. “Arts and culture organisations are often a little bit closed and can be intimidating to wider audiences that aren’t typically involved with them,” he adds.
As a result, the studio focussed on avoiding “overdesigned, codified language and imagery” that people with no prior knowledge would not understand, according to Baxter.
According to the studio’s research, Brighton & Hove is the only city in the UK with an ampersand in its name. Since this ampersand is present in the venues’ new name, Baxter & Bailey wanted to use its “rich linguistic potential” to communicate inclusivity, says Baxter.
Made up of six component parts, the ampersand logo is designed to represent the six venues that make up Brighton & Hove Museums. These comprise Royal Pavilion & Garden, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Hove Museum of Creativity, Preston Manor & Gardens, Booth Museum of Natural History, and the digital Discovery collection. It attempts to give all venues “equal recognition”, opposed to the old branding which only highlighted the pavilion.
The typographic qualities of the ampersand are also meant to “reflect the architectural detailing in some of the buildings”, says Baxter. The studio also crafted a set of graphics called Ampersand Expressions, in which imagery and photography relating to different exhibitions and collections are put into the ampersand stencil.
Baxter says, “When we presented this new graphic language to the Brighton & Hove team, they could immediately see how they could run with it and use it promote different collections and aspects of the venues.” Ampersand Expressions will be used across various physical and digital settings, from the website and socials to posters within the venues themselves.
The new website also attempts to give all venues equal recognition, while also focussing on functionality and reflecting “the vibrancy of the city”, says Baxter.
Though the brief detailed that there needed to be more synergy between the venues, Baxter & Bailey also had to ensure that the sites had “their own individual character”, explains Baxter. While the scaffolding is there to make the sites “appear as a family” through consistent use of logo type and approach to grid and structure, Baxter says there is “complete flexibility” when it comes to the colour palette.
Across the primary and secondary colour palette there are 15 shades. The brand guidelines detail that each venue can choose any colour combination to use in their marketing and branding.
Baxter adds that colour combinations have “not only been tested with aesthetic consideration but also with accessibility and legibility in mind”. The studio devised “an ownable set of colours” referencing locally signifcant architecture, geographic locations, and people.
Baxter & Bailey commissioned street photographer JJ Waller capture “imagery of lived experiences” for the site photography, says Baxter. With inclusivity in mind, the studio tasked Waller with photographing a diverse mix of people interacting with the space, so that all visitors would feel comfortable there.
The new branding will roll out gradually over the coming months, starting with a new look website and social media, launching today. The ampersand logo is already starting to appear on exhibition posters, while new signage, wayfinding, tickets, ads, and merchandise will appear across the venues at a later stage.