The East Sussex museum, previously known just as Ditchling Museum, has been closed since early 2012.
It will reopen with a new focus on the artists and craftspeople that lived and worked in the area, where an artist community was founded by Eric Gill in the early 20th Century, influenced by the earlier Arts and Crafts Movement that began in the 1860s.
Baines, Professor of Typography at Central Saint Martins, says, ‘The feeling was with the museum that it was a little bit unfocused, and it should look to its core strengths, which is the art and craft community founded by Eric Gill, as well as wider art and craft, and not try and just be a local history museum.
The new branding is based on the work of artists in the collection. The main identity uses a typographic arrangement of the museum’s name, and exists in four different formats.
‘I wanted to do something typography-based rather than logo-based’, says Baines. ‘One of the earlier discussions was should we use Gill or not, but in the end I thought it would be churlish not to. Given the way I was setting out the words as a sort of pattern, Gill Sans worked perfectly’.
Gill Sans’ ‘pre-digital’ incarnation is used throughout the museum identity in headings, with another Gill-designed typeface, Aries, used for body text due to its ‘good reading texture’, says Baines.
Baines was appointed to the project having worked with the museum for the last six or seven years, having set up a letterpress bequeathed by typographer and historian Justin Howes at the space.
He also designed a catalogue for the museum’s Eric Gill show in 2007.
The restored museum will see the smaller spaces used for changing exhibitions, with a central space housing the permanent collection, where before the permanent collection was housed in the smaller galleries.
There will also be a new learning space for talks and workshops.
According to the museum, the new interior design ‘is the antithesis of the “white box’’ museum’.
It says, ‘The carefully crafted new spaces and displays enable the objects of the collection to enter into a poetic dialogue with the place that they were made, and to reveal the stories behind these important artists.’