Established in 1967 by the Australian Government, the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in the capital city of Canberra, houses over 100,000 works across four points of national interest: Australian art, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art, Asian art and International art. In 2006 NGA announced plans for a comprehensive expansion of their building after receiving a $92.9 million funding from the government that will help it accommodate the now 140,000 works in the collection. Slated for completion this winter, the NGA has taken the opportunity to introduce a new logo as well, designed by Naked Communications.
The old logo was anything but memorable or distinct, just some lowercase Helvetica in a box. The new one tries to be thoroughly memorable and distinct. It succeeds and fails. The new acronym, set in abstract geometric forms, is fairly attractive and interesting, with the potential for a great identity system, but it feels much more appropriate to a museum or gallery of contemporary art than one dealing in more traditional artifacts. Perhaps contemporary additions to the collection will change this. The new typography, spelling out the name of the institution, is quite irritating with the missing crossbars of the “A”s. Sure it mimics the “A” in the acronym, but it does so quite clumsily, especially in contrast with the neither-Humanist-neither-Geometric sans serif they have chosen (I think it might be even be Helvetica with its “O”s replaced for perfect circles). So it succeeds in signifying something new and distinct but fails in doing it properly and contextually.