Established in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is an art museum in Melbourne — with two locations in the city — and the oldest one in Australia. Its collection of 70,000 works spans thousands of years with a strong emphasis on Australian art that includes indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) art and artifacts, colonial art, Impressionist art, and modern and contemporary art. They also have Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania art collections as well as a contemporary design and architecture collection of work from the 1980s forward. In June, the organization introduced a new identity designed by Melbourne-based 3 Deep.
Following a significant review of the NGV brand and communication strategies, audience segments and competitive environment, 3 Deep was commissioned to establish a revised brand strategy and brand identity for the Gallery. After capturing the organisations’ creative spirit, purpose, values and promise, a salient and potent brand strategy was created that would reflect the ambitions and vision of the NGV and facilitate unique branded experiences for visitors, patrons, partners and supporters.
In bringing the strategy to life, 3 Deep created a flexible and animated visual identity system in order to help identify and canonise the many campaigns, events, initiatives and services provided by the Gallery and its supporting sub brands including the NGV Design Store, NGV Crossbar Cafe, NGV Tea Room, NGV Garden Restaurant and NGV Gallery Kitchen.
The old logo wasn’t bad or good. Mostly lacking personality and the three-quarter frame around it didn’t convey much nor felt engaging. The new logo has more personality with a type choice that doesn’t look default anymore and an arrangement that at first appears oddly spaced — tiny space around the edges, double that space between letters — when the logo is in its straight rectangle configuration but once the logo breaks apart into three rectangles it reveals the reason why that spacing is. It’s not an overly exciting solution but the typography looks good and the simple breaks give the logo more engagement than the previous logo ever had. Granted, the solution could apply to any museum with three letters so other than conceptually “capturing the organisations’ creative spirit, purpose, values and promise” it’s mostly a cool graphic exercise, which I’m not condemning. I think.
The applications go for both a logo-as-window approach, masking imagery behind it as well as logo-as-stained-glass approach, multiplying over the imagery behind it. Both work well because they always do. There feels to be some lack of consistency on whether the logo goes flush to the edges or with a border around it — it could be argued that both are acceptable but the logo is used so big in most applications that the two approaches feel at odds with each other. With the ad render, it’s almost like they threw every design solution at it to see what would stick, if anything. (Nothing quite does on that one). The t-shirt… Yeah, I would wear that one. Overall, the system has a nice artsy moodiness to it that’s visually attractive and the condensed sans serif in the logo makes it feel different from the usual solutions but there is a slight lack in cohesiveness and confidence on what visual path to take.
Thanks to Michael Bojkowski for the tip.