Spanning 472,900 square feet and welcoming over one million visitors each year, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (CMI) is the largest children’s museum in the world, and one of the oldest, having opened in 1925. To celebrate their 85th anniversary and hopefully usher in even more visitors and tourists, CMI introduced a new identity in mid-July, designed by Marmillion + Company, a communications firm that has been working with the museum for more than a decade.
The logo was a result of Marmillion’s Imaginative Outcomes process using solid research from focus groups, one on one interviews, and stakeholder input.
— Marmillion + Company News Item
The new Children’s Museum’s mark reflects the design of its new Welcome Center with its roofline raised by a life-size adult Brachiosaur so that a young Brachiosaur can enter, exciting children and adults alike and evoking a sense of awe as visitors enter the museum. The mark also reflects the welcoming spirit that supports the museum’s position as the biggest and the best, and indicates its leadership status among its peers.
— Press Release
Just to make sure you know: The new logo mimics the architecture of its new welcome center, built in 2009. The big deal about the welcome center is that there is a life-size dinosaur that peeks through that little bubble at the top of the building. See below for proof.
Obviously, this is a landmark icon for both the museum and the city of Indianapolis, but as a literal icon for an identity it should suffer the same meteor death the dinosaurs once suffered. But even if it were a salvageable visual, the typography underneath it is some of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, especially for anything in the category of “largest X in the world.” Poor Futura. The first line is too tight and, as any competent designer knows, the Futura uppercase “N” needs to be treated with care, as the pointy corners can be treacherous. The second line is scaled either vertically or horizontally, either way it’s wrong. The third line is the least offensive as it is well spaced out and at a nice size, but it has nothing to do with the lines above it. Also, if the logo is meant to be about the welcome center, what ever happened to the dinosaur?
The biggest shame of it is that the logo fails to capture any kind of the excitement, intrigue and curiosity that a children’s museum can generate. This could be the museum for opticians that it wouldn’t make a difference. A real opportunity wasted.