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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


Typographic Tolerance

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2012 by Armin

Industry / Culture Tags /

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo, New

Inaugurated this November, the Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center is a 27,000-square-foot, state of the art, 50-million-dollar museum in Moscow, becoming one of the world’s largest museums to chronicle the history of the Jewish people and Israel. Housed in the Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, the museum’s design was conceived by New York, NY-based Ralph Appelbaum and Associates and features interactive tables, hologram projections, and even a recreation of a Shtetl (small areas within a city with lots and lots and lots of Jews). The identity has been designed by Moscow-based Fleve.

The idea behind this identity is based on the notion of three modalities as ways of two cultures as well as two histories (Russian and Jewish) interacting with one another. […] Each modality is used contextually, meaning that on the museum ticket you’ll find the penetration modality, which symbolises the idea of entering the museum building, while the business cards will have the contact modality signifying the initial moment when you establish contact with the person who gives you the business card.
Fleve case study

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

The three “modalities” of the logo (left to right):
Contact – When one culture, either Russian or Jewish, comes into contact with the other.
Penetration – When one culture penetrates the other.
Inclusion – When one culture includes the other.

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

At first glance the logo is a little strange. Okay. It’s a lot strange. The type selection is not my favorite — I’m not a fan of a sans serif with low contrast between stem and curves as seen in this one’s “u”s or “m” — and the forced ligatures are, well, way too forced, especially the “um” that creates a black blob at the end of the name. BUT, the harshness — check out that ampersand, it will cut you — and unpleasantness of the typeface and the odd ligatures actually help convey the complicated relationship between not just both the Jews-Russia relationship but also the Jews/Israel-Everyone relationship. To further the concept and where I really started to appreciate this identity was with the introduction of the “modalities” (explained above in the caption) that not only provide striking visuals — in the colors of the Israel flag, to boot — but also become part of the narrative and goal of the museum, which I take it to be simply how two cultures, any two cultures, come together and the positive and negative consequences of that.

Overall, this is a very smart identity system that avoids being pretty or friendly just for the sake of it and instead opts for a less comfortable solution that carries meaning with it.

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Israel President Shimon Peres at the opening ceremony.

Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center Logo and Identity

Interior shot of the center. A few more photos here.

Some moving images of the museum. Narration in Russian, but the point comes across.



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Brand New, is a division of UnderConsideration, displaying opinions, and focusing solely, on corporate and brand identity work. More…

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX.

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