Established in 1980, the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales in Australia protects and cares “for significant historic places, buildings, collections and landscapes with integrity, and enable people to enjoy and learn about them.” Along with twelve of the state’s most important historic houses, the trust also manages landscapes, a library and collections of paintings, furniture and objects. This month the trust announced it would be launching a new, public-facing brand under the name of Sydney Living Museums with the goal of increasing visits and awareness of this cultural institution. It will maintain Historic Houses Trust as the operational name. The new identity has been designed by Sydney-based Frost*.
The brand strategy and name is realised visually through a new identity, also created by Frost*. The mark centres on the idea of ‘unlocking stories’, and draws on the key as a symbol of entry into other peoples’ homes.
— Frost* blog post
Our logo, constructed with our initials, is inspired by the amazing array of historic keys that we have: from the giant key unlocking Elizabeth Bay House, to the master’s key for the Hyde Park Barracks and the keys to the cells at the Justice & Police Museum.
— SLM new site
The previous logo was pretty nice, with a chair-like “h” inside a metaphorically-home-like “H”, providing a nice concept and execution (except for that odd italic “t” for Trust). The new logo goes for a similar, initials-based, typographic play by turning SLM into the shape of a key. At first the idea seems kind of dopey and, well, at second, it also seems kind of dopey — a little too much like an early design school assignment. However, the resulting logo — despite the humongous size of the “S” in relation to the other two letters and to any key handles I have ever opened a door with — is quite charming, sure to bring a smile to the face of visitors who figure out that it’s a key and the initials of the organization. (I know it’s not that hard but, hey, people, you know…). In application the logo is used far too big for my taste, making the key look strangely out of proportion with everything else but because the text of the logo is so small in relation to the key you can’t really make it much smaller — a secondary lock-up might be beneficial. Overall, “cute” I would say.