Established in 1822, the Mauritshuis — “Maurits House” in English, a large residence built in the 1630s named after its owner Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, governor of the Dutch possessions in Brazil — is an art museum in The Hague in the Netherlands that is home to the “Royal Cabinet of Paintings”, a collection of more than 800 Dutch Golden Age paintings. Its most famous possession is Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring with other paintings from Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter, Frans Hals, and Hans Holbein the Younger among others. The museum closed for renovation in 2012 and just opened this past June, introducing a new identity designed by Studio Dumbar.
Inspired by artists’ monograms, the new logo overlaps reproductions of key paintings to communicate a clear link between the Mauritshuis and its collection. Supported by a contemporary wordmark, the logo hints at the museum’s heritage while placing it in the 21st century. Golden Age paintings are known for their details: look closer and you’ll see more. We expressed this idea in the logo and a new photographic style: paintings are shown in context, through doorways. The core colour evokes royalty, the Golden Age and the house’s baroque interiors, while a brighter secondary palette echoes its famous damask wall coverings.
The old logo, OMG, even for Dutch, weird-factor standards was super weird; it was like the house was about to be abducted and probed by this giant “M” that came from outer space. Really, really bizarre logo, designed in the 1980s by UNA designers. The new logo consists of a simple, contemporary, sans serif wordmark and one of the most stunning monograms I’ve seen all year. In the vein the disappearing-serif-stencil trend from typefaces like Dala Floda or logos like Blank this logo takes it to its most refined and elegant execution yet. It’s perfectly readable, it’s sexy, and it’s a wonderful blend of contemporary and classical.
Rendered in gold metallic against black and white canvases, the logo works as a serious institutional identity for use in stationery and catalogs but when printed against bold, rich colors for retail use it takes on a flamboyant consumer brand aesthetic that most fashion houses wish they had. Consistently used at large sizes, with the monogram spreading from margin to margin, the applications convey a commanding confidence in its identity. This is a fantastic redesign that continues to establish Studio Dumbar as one of the best in the business. (And it’s also good for the museum, yeah).
Spotted on BP&O.