Two consultancies work on branding and digital briefs at Ashmolean

Jane Wentworth Associates is working on a new identity for the Ashmolean museum, which will launch in November, alongside the institution’s £61m refurbishment (DW 6 August).

Meanwhile, All of Us is designing a website for a permanent exhibition at the redesigned museum.

According to Francis Croxford, consultant at JWA, the design consultancy has devised a brand strategy and created a new identity for the Oxford museum.

Croxford says, ‘We’re bringing the values of the institution to life. The strategy will open minds to the joy of learning, by taking learning out of its ivory tower and bringing works to life.’ The strategy will attempt to link Oxford the city, the universities and the wider community.

Croxford says, ‘The “o” of Ashmolean will be exaggerated in the identity, representing a window into the collection.’

Development of the rebrand started in October 2008, but the project has been in the offing for two years.

JWA’s appointment followed a competitive pitch in December 2007. Guidelines are now being put to Ashmolean staff, who have already conducted workshops on the strategy implementation.

The museum appointed All of Us after a three-way competitive pitch in January, tasking it with creating a presence for Eastern Art Online: Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art.

The consultancy’s offer was based on a joint pitch with Keepthinking to develop the back end and content management of a site that will keep a database of the whole collection when complete.

‘We had to make a sub-brand and visually distinguish this,’ says Nick Cristea, strategy director at All of Us.

As a sub-brand, the website has taken its lead from the new Ashmolean identity, but it will be ‘pure and typographic’ rather than a distinct logotype, according to Cristea.

Potentially, it will allow the design to be rolled out across other collections. ‘This site concentrates on Eastern and Islamic art, framing and representing the site with touches of personality,’ Cristea says. ‘Navigationally and structurally, this can be a testbed – a template, telling rich stories for other areas, like Western art.’

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