Established in 1854, the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin is one of Europe’s earliest public art galleries and houses a collection of over 16,300 works of art including European and Irish fine art from the early Renaissance to the present day. With a major renovation of part of the gallery and a new presentation of its permanent collections opening later this month, the institution introduced a new identity designed by Manchester, UK-based True North.
The new visual identity features a bold, distinctive graphic symbol inspired by the gallery’s initial letterform ‘N’ and incorporates a stencil typeface inspired by engravings from its iconic building.
The simple but iconic marque is a useful brand device to communicate the breadth and diversity of National Gallery of Ireland, allowing the juxtaposition of words and images to really communicate the gallery’s offer, now and in the future.
True North provided text
The old logo had some potential — maybe putting the “G” on the top-left corner? — but ultimately it was an unbalanced configuration with a huge “N” and very constrained letters inside while the wordmark was almost like a type specimen, showcasing all the weights and styles of the type family. The new logo maintains the emphasis on the “N”, which is still odd as what I’m interested in about the institution is whether it’s a *G*allery or that it’s in *I*reland and not that it’s *N*ational. The one good thing about this new version is that the slash of the “N” could potentially be read as an “I” as well. In terms of the approach to the new logo… it’s okay, a little on the bland and expected spectrum with the stenciled serif but pleasing to the eye. The slash works only in context with the full wordmark as on its own it’s an odd shape. It works best with the double-language texts around it because then the English and Irish name could be interpreted as the stems of the “N”.
The applications could use some variation somewhere. “Text \ Text \ Text \ Text…” gets repetitive quickly although, again and overall, it’s all visually pleasing and makes sense as a restrained approach for a gallery.