A new identity for the Science Museum

London’s Science Museum has been steadily transforming itself over the past few years in order to appeal to a wider audience. This month a new identity for the institution was unveiled by johnson banks that aims to build on that momentum

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London’s Science Museum has been steadily transforming itself over the past few years in order to appeal to a wider audience. This month a new identity for the institution was unveiled by johnson banks that aims to build on that momentum…

The London-based studio was appointed at the end of 2009 to redesign the Science Museum’s brand and identity. According to creative director Michael Johnson, while the much-loved museum has offered plenty of groundbreaking exhibition design, there was a sense it could further its appeal beyond the traditional family audience. The museum’s Lates series of events, for example, have proved particularly appealing to those wishing to experience the many interactive exhibits without the kids.

While we’ll be looking at the project in more depth in the August issue of CR (as our Case Study feature) we asked Johnson to talk us through the work’s development.

“The museum briefed us to search for a more sophisticated visual identity, to avoid the usual science clichés of test tubes and mad, white-lab-coated professors, whilst supplying more cut-though,” he explains. “We were also keen to find a visual style that was much more than just a logo and could plant the museum back in the minds of audiences who might have forgotten them.”

“In identity terms the museum has lagged behind its London competitors,” says Johnson. “They had a simple wordmark and crest in the 80s which was slowly replaced by the ‘Sci M’ device in the late 80s. This was dropped a decade ago in favour of a simple typographic solution but this had struggled for recognition, especially in the competitive environment of cultural posters on London’s underground.”

“After experimenting with several routes, the chosen idea stemmed from research we did on codes, puzzles, patterns and basic digital typefaces, and we found a way to shorten the word science so we could create a grid-like ‘stack’ of the letterforms. We also began to experiment with slightly abstracted letterforms as we noticed that ‘science’ and ‘museum’ were relatively generic words.”

“When we shared it with the client – and with the public in research – it became clear that people read many meanings into it as they ‘decoded’ the letterforms,” Johnson contnues. “Some see it as futuristic, some as scientific. One respondent said it seemed ‘binary, modern and classical at the same time’. This is a useful trait for a logo – it means many things to different people without being overly specific about one aspect of science over another, allowing us to use it on a myriad different applications.”

“From the outset in implementation we used the logo as large as possible, and extrapolated the typeforms into a headline typeface. Early applications see underground posters that feature visitors touching the new logo from behind, or within the poster, and the campaign for the newly redesigned Who Am I? gallery uses a boy and girl’s face that have been ‘debranded’ and covered with the words ‘who am I?'”

According to Johnson, all the banners on the front of the museum have been replaced, as have the elements in the museum concourse. The new design will gradually be run out through the museum and permeate marketing materials, communications, websites and retail products. The Lates posters and communications are also to be rebranded with stronger type and a series of images by photographer John Ross.

More images of the new identity and how the branding has been rolled out inside the museum will form part of the Case Study feature in the August issue of CR.

Credits:
Design: johnson banks
Designers: Michael Johnson, Kath Tudball, Miho Aishima

Science Museum clients:
Tim Molloy, Head of Creative Direction
Andrea Dearden, Head of Marketing

Photographers:
Brand posters: Lee Funnell
Who Am I? posters: Jan Masny
Lates posters: John Ross

Typeface construction:
The Foundry

 

UPDATE
27/6/10

To all our readers, a challenge

In the interests of everyone, we want to raise the tone of the debate on this blog.

This is a major redesign for a major institution. In the past, discussion of such projects here has quickly descended into relentless negativity, insult and abuse.

So here is our challenge to you – be as critical as you like but any comments from now on which, in our opinion, are not thoughtful, well-argued, constructive or which do not move the debate on will be deleted.

Improving the level of debate will make this site a better experience for everyone.

 

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  • Noir

    Cliche + Boring!

    Johnson Banks please, PLEASE! stop ruining perfectly decent institutions with your painfully mediocre throw-away branding. I can’t believe the Science Museum fell for this and poor Ravensbourne whas also been a recent victim.

  • Andy Kamara

    Horribly dated already…

  • Zuko

    Not sure about the ligature of I and E – seems a little forced to make it sit in a neat block

    Otherwise, very solid and appropriate for the client.

    Be interesting to see how the visual identity rolls out, the images look a bit ‘stock library’ at the moment.

  • Stephen

    SNME CCUU IESM ..

    is that right..? can’t quite read it properly…

  • To me this is reminiscent of the recent Aol rebrand – A knee-jerk reaction to try and increase sales resulting in a logo and image that reflects graphic design trends over the story behind the business.

    Why do organisations like this jump for a re-brand and a refreshed image? Isn’t it surely more a matter of revising the brand and marketing strategy? Wouldn’t it be better to apply an existing, well-known brand to a wider reaching, more concise set of communications?

    Thanks

  • Carla

    I’m surprised such a powerful player thinks this is ‘good branding’. This isn’t a brand to me: its a logo and colour palette. Whats does it say to you? where’s the vision, story or concept? Ok, you can call it cool, futuristic and whatever other adjective you want to throw at it, but it appears to be little more than an exercise in creative typography.

    It might pass itself off for a while, but they are going to get stuck. Without a strategy, vision and comprehensive toolkit of visual devices behind them, The Science Museum will be stuck in the same ruts they’ve been in before. Good brands don’t last by being ‘cool’.

  • I think the typography is nicely considered. And while I’m not overly wowed by the supporting material, I feel it’s reasonably appropriate.

  • stu

    do not like this at all!!!????

  • Toben

    Sorry guys this just feels like a draft. Bit of a BuroDestruct throwback from 2004 or watered-down Wim Crouwel.

    I think this wouldn’t be taken seriously if produced by another agency or as student project, although some of the earlier comments are overreactions against JB.

  • To present science as science function is to do a serious injustice to science.

  • Think the presence of ten letters in Science should have made the designers take another approach. Looks forced. Photography feels very Tony Stone from the early 1990s as well.

  • alex

    absolute tosh. looks bloody awful, dated, cheap and unoriginal. poor Science Museum!

  • eek! :(

  • West Smith

    As ever the CR blog sinks into negative comment and insult, for what is, for a London museum, a pretty major step forward. Had this been done by North or Farrow no-one would have even commented.

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    To all our readers, a challenge

    In the interests of everyone, we want to raise the tone of the debate on this blog.

    This is a major redesign for a major institution. In the past, discussion of such projects here has quickly descended into relentless negativity, insult and abuse.

    So here is our challenge to you – be as critical as you like but any comments from now on which, in our opinion, are not thoughtful, well-argued, constructive or which do not move the debate on will be deleted.

    Improving the level of debate will make this site a better experience for everyone.

  • Stuff is WAY sick – love it

  • MatthewNotMatt

    Well I like it.

    After reading about it first on ‘Thought for the week’ then seeing it mentioned here I didn’t think that it would receive such negative reactions.

    As ‘West Smith’ has said it is a major step forward from the existing logo/type (I’m not sure you can even call the previous logo a logo, it’s just type). As others have mentioned it seem appropriate for the client (from what Michael has said), JohnsonBanks will undoubtedly move the brand on further in the coming months and years, and I presume the stocky photos are because the client want something generic before applying it to specific areas of the museum. It’s strong, memorable, versatile (always the goal of any logo) and actually gives the museum a real identity.

    BTW – Some people haven’t read Patrick’s comment properly.

  • Sam

    Like a lot of Johnson Banks’ work, it’s not to my personal taste but I think it meets the brief.

    And I don’t think it’s fair to call it dated – not everything has to be all cutting edge and trendy because that would appeal to a very limited target audience. Some people might like things that look like they’re froim the nineties.

  • I always like a this type of change. and I’ m very impressive on this project and backstage all of it. good work.

  • Obviously this is not the most original of designs as it is essentially a tweaked nu-alphabet which has been done before plenty of times. However I do think it actually looks really nice. So I am a bit torn really.

    Overall I quite like it. I agree the main logo is not that legible though with the words broken up and maybe they could came up with a better solution to this. The other images look good though, and the typeface cries out science in a retro kind of way.

  • Overall it’s hard to judge the project based on a handful of images, it always feels out of context especially as this is designed for an environment that to fully understand needs to be experienced.

    I too share some peoples misgivings about the typography in the logo but only the ‘IE’ ligature, I feel other than that it stacks up quite nicely, and the imagery is interesting, vibrant and inquisitive and gives it personality which should only enhance the experience of a visit to the Science Museum.

    But something I must say about Johnson Banks, is that they approach each project differently with a continual sense of originality and although at times not inline with my taste, I find this method of intrigue of investigation refreshing and the right way to think about identity design in the 21st Century.

  • Matt

    I think it feels forced in its current state and much of the imagery makes it look like a college project. However it may develop into something better over time.

  • Horribly cliche but by doing this not sure this makes this niche???

    Not sure with the ligature between the I and E looks very forced and unnatural and feel they could have doe a lot better.

    Really reminds me of the E=mc2 branding i think they had in the 90’s

    http://www.newnotion.co.uk/

  • Luke

    When I first saw the logo, my first reaction was naturally positive and I had no idea who had designed it. I really like it.

    Yea the logos kind of hard to “de-code” but I guess that’s the point! The target audience is largely kids of school-age and they will have never seen anything like this before and it will hopefully encourage them to look at things differently. You’re average 12 year old won’t have heard of Wim Crowel.

    Ultimately the logo is really distinctive and recognisable.

    I agree that the photography is cheesey and stock library standard which really lets it down, but it is quite appropriate for the audience. Looking forward to seeing what the John Ross images produce.

    Really don’t think the “who am I?” poster is very well executed – nice idea though.

    To me, this looks like it has legs, it’s exciting and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

    I want to go to the Science Museum now.

  • To see a classic timeless identity look across the road to Fletchers V&A. This is what a museum the size of the Science Museum should be aiming for. Something that can sit as comfortably on its own as well as being utilised for a large one off show. It feels backward looking in its approach, retro almost, if we can have 1990s retro. When surely science is about discovery and looking forward?

  • Stephen

    heres my more constructive comment…!

    you cannot judge the logotype by seeing it on lots of pictures / backgrounds etc.. it should be judged black on white.. or whatever base colour combinations that are proposed.. the other pieces of graphics shown like ‘lates’ and ‘ who am i’ are above the line advertising as they are images shown outside to passing public.

    first the logotype.. love to know the justification for the i e mashup, because that along with the stacking of the characters is what makes the logo fail.. you just don’t guarantee that the reader goes left to right every time.. maybe you would if you did not come across an alien looking character third character in to reading it… and your mind thinks i have read this the wrong way… and goes in the opposite direction..

    the other images are just not very good advertising , in a position that should have amazing advertising…. a logotype is a logotype and advertising in another job altogether… maybe JB should have called in someone else for that part…

    so come on JB whats the justification for the i e part of logo.. as a ‘forever learning’ designer i would love to understand how and why such creative decisions are made… even if it was ‘we had one too many letters’…

  • The i e ligature is very confusing and looks a bit sloppy. But i do like the type they used and think it looks right for a science museum. It does look a bit forced to be contained in a block why not just have the word science over museum, and get rid of that i e.

    I would like to know if there was a reason they were so strict and stayed inside this block.

  • I agree with most people here and I don’t like it at all. It can be hard to read for some people and I can never understand why they would want to change their old logo to something that looks confusing. It’s just as bad as Waterstone’s when they ‘updated’ their logo and ruined it completely.

  • Using the unique font is a nice way of unifying the elements but why the gradient on the type and the super cheesy stock image backgrounds? Especially the S,C,I posters!

    Surely there are some amazing images that could be used? I agree it looks more like a tender of the kind of direction you could go with place holder imagery.

  • Ed

    For me the main problem at the moment relates to what Michael Johnson said: “We were also keen to find a visual style that was much more than just a logo”. With this early stage of the roll-out, however, we’ve only seen the logo and a few applications to posters, not the whole system. There isn’t an apparent visual style other than taking the block logo and sticking it over full-bleed photos.

    At the moment the whole identity system hangs on the block arrangement of the logo, and to me this isn’t the strongest aspect of the design – (as others have already said) it looks forced and slightly contrived.

    The typeface is pretty distinctive (especially given that this is a major London museum), so I’d like to see that used in more creative ways. I’d also love to see how the system works through the building with signage and wayfinding etc.

    At the moment I personally don’t think the logo is strong enough to carry the whole system on its own, but I’m hoping that eventually it won’t have to.

    ps. I’d be interested to know if there are any other iterations of the logo. I’d love to see a straight-up ‘science over museum’ logo.

  • JW

    Not sure the typeface is very readable in body copy usage, doesn’t the Science Museum have to comply to DDA regulations on accessibility for printed communications.

    RNIB guidelines say ‘steer clear of ornamental or highly stylised typefaces as they are unsuitable for composing text and short phrases’.

  • Kelvin

    Crouwel Lite?

  • Mark Batley

    I like the logo. I like the posters too and I particularly like the grid-like stack that look like cutouts but the branding on posters using these letterforms will need to move on quickly, before overuse kicks in. Creatively, the branding will need to adapt.

    MB

  • Mark

    Sorry CR … I’d like to be constructive in my criticism but I can’t find any inspiration in this work. All I can say is that it is neither good nor bad … Just very familiar!

    If you visit the Science Museum, you and your children will be thoroughly engaged by excellent exhibition and interactive design … so I guess that the singularly most disappointing aspect of this is that the Science Museum is most certainly not just an “Average Experience”.

  • Regardless of the merits of this project. shouldn’t CR have deleted a lot of the comments so far, on the basis of the (laudable) new policy that introduces them? The very first comment is just a rant, without any argument or substantiation. And things like

    – do not like this at all!!!????
    – eek! :(
    – Stuff is WAY sick – love it

    while harmless, don’t seem to meet the CR criteria (CRiteria?) of ‘thoughtful, well-argued, constructive’ or ‘move the debate on’.

    I’m aware of how stuffy I sound, and obviously some of the comments definitely meet the CRiteria. But it would be a real triumph for almost any site to have comments sections made up of things worth reading, rather than being largely dumping grounds for unsubstantiated blurts of opinion. (Which also make it harder to find the useful stuff.)

    Putting the soapbox away now. Carry on.

  • Surrey

    The thing about museums is what’s inside them, not what’s on the outside.
    Yet here there’s no secondary meaning, ‘unlocking’ or decoding required – no reward for your curiosity.
    It’s just flat type.
    Rather than make me look at – or better still, inside – the museum with fresh eyes, my first response is to think this looks like the Science Museum is a tired institution with an urgency to get down and get with it.
    The Science Museum most definitely isn’t that sort of institution.
    It’s a bit of a betrayal I’m afraid.

  • Jamie Lindstrom

    Positive:

    – Congratulations are due to Johnson Banks for refusing to bow to prevailing taste in graphic design. They consistently win big-profile projects because they demonstrate a consistently intelligent approach, rather than a consistent visual style. The interns in our firm never seem to be able to see the transience of design trends; it’s something I have only slowly started to learn after leaving university.

    Negative:

    – As others have said, the aesthetic execution is not to my taste and in my opinion is a bit slapdash. It needs time to ‘bed down’; they need to be a bit more adventurous with that interesting geometric typeface and maybe move away from orthodox corporate branding.

    – The generic ‘sciencey’ stock images don’t help. I think this is where the ‘dated’ feel is coming from. A museum with this status and reputation deserves a much more respectful and intelligent choice and application of imagery.

  • Mark Roberts

    Well, there’s plenty of pretty stupid comments here!, lots of people are saying what’s the point of the ‘ie’ ligature, well obviously it’s a clever way of enabling the logo to work as a block while maintaining legibility. If you just put Science over Museum as some people suggest it just becomes a typeface and not a logo and wouldn’t lend itself to applications such as the repeat pattern shown above. I feel most people commenting here are trend driven and unable to see the bigger picture of an identity designed to last a good few years at least. I think it’s strong. clever work as usual from this studio.

    MR

  • If you can’t read it, you probably wouldn’t be going to the Science Museum or any other museum. It really isn’t that difficult to read… is it? Agreed on the ‘stock-like’ imagery. As logotypes go, it’s okay – you might keep it in your portfolio, but not sure it’s worth shouting about. Regarding the ‘forced’ I & E – did they have one character too many or were they two characters short of an iDeA? Definitely not D&AD.

  • If you can’t read it, you probably wouldn’t be going to the Science Museum or any other museum. It really isn’t that difficult to read… is it? Agreed on the ‘stock-like’ imagery. As logotypes go, it’s okay – you might keep it in your portfolio, but not sure it’s worth shouting about. Regarding the ‘forced’ I & E – did they have one character too many or were they two characters short of an iDeA? Definitely not D&AD.

  • Mark Roberts

    Well, there’s plenty of pretty stupid comments here!, lots of people are saying what’s the point of the ‘ie’ ligature, well obviously it’s a clever way of enabling the logo to work as a block while maintaining legibility. If you just put Science over Museum as some people suggest it just becomes a typeface and not a logo and wouldn’t lend itself to applications such as the repeat pattern shown above. I feel most people commenting here are trend driven and unable to see the bigger picture of an identity designed to last a good few years at least. I think it’s strong. clever work as usual from this studio.

    MR

  • Debbie

    To CR (Patrick Burgoyne) if you don’t want negative feedback on your blog… maybe don’t have a comments page. I love work by MJ I think he’s a clever man. New id’s are always highly criticized, it’s a fact of life for a graphic designer. I imagine if Michael is reading this, he’ll probably like that it’s causing so much controversy.

  • Leo Saunders

    I really like this design – and love the grid/puzzle rationale, particularly the way the letterforms rotate. I can see opportunities here to animate the letters. A good re-brand. People, move on.

  • Christopher Turrall

    I see what Creative Review means about negative and unstructured comments ! Lets hope imy comment here will stay ahead of that blue editor’s pencil !
    Personally, I would be delighted to have this body of fine work as so far shown in my portfolio. Well done to both the designers and to the Science Museum. Critics take note and stop acting with our typical BRITISH atittude towards making ‘constructive observations’ when asked to comment. We only seem to want to find fault in other peoples work. Never praise when you can damn.

    Christopher Turrall MCSD D&AD

  • Giles

    Thank you CR for initiating your new CRiteria for postings, I approve.
    I also approve of the new Science Museum logo with it’s quirky retro feel.
    I like the way it makes you do a double take to figure out where all the letters are (IE) and the way the typography carries on through to the posters strongly.
    For many it may be a grower in the same way that the 2012 logo was but I love it.

  • JR

    I find this a very disappointing re-brand.

    There is quite a clear reference to Wim Crouwel, but without any of the pioneering thought or design consideration Wim has within his alphabet.

    Surely an identity for the Science Museum should be pushing what design can do whilst encapsulating the very essence of what this museum is about. Personally, I don’t think this ‘font’ does this at all. There is no sensitivity within the design, which is clunky at best and is slightly supported by unimaginative imagery that looks very off the shelf.

    Admittedly I can see how this could grab ones attention when walking down the street as the use of image is striking (albeit pedestrian and obvious) mainly due to the jarring colours. I presume this is intentional. This does not mean it is well designed.

    I am also presuming the 3 dashes on the first line are supposed to be a letter E. If this is gridded, why does the other, larger E not fit here? Did the designers run out of space or realise the font actually couldn’t be broken up in even letter forms?

    The unfortunate thing about grid fonts such as these is that they all tend to look very similar to each other so perhaps Johnson Banks made a rod of their own backs at the outset by pursuing this route in the first place? Other more recent fonts that use this theme work as they have had some thought and life injected into them; they have a feeling of life and look to have been genuinely considered.

    I am not quite sure how they are intending on tackling the signage aspect, unless a secondary font is used.

    It has made an institution based around discovery, life, learning and intellience look innane, old hat and dare I say it, like the covers of typography now and typography now 2.

    JR

    Wim Crouwel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NewAlphabetSpec.png
    The millers heart work on this website http://www.studiorobinson.com/
    Ed Ruscha http://pietmondriaan.com/pm/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ruscha-pay-nothing.jpg
    whitechapel identity http://www.spin.co.uk/

  • I like it, and have long admired JBs work – always meticulous and well thought out.
    Like the typeface, and the clever binary code effect. Well done!

  • Alan

    For some reason as soon as I saw this it made me think of Blade Runner but I quite like it, especially the John Ross poster.

  • I agree with the majority of posts stating their dislike for the branding, and personally I think it will date very easily, and won’t maintain its fresh look it has at the moment.

    Saying this, I also think the proof will be in the pudding. If more people start visiting then its job done, its a huge success and the design backlash will mean nothing.

    Would be great if CR could get a more detailed brief, and collect views in response to see if it’s been fulfilled and if people change their opinions.

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Debbie

    I’m not sure that you read my comment properly – I specifically said that people can be as critical as they like, I was just hoping that, unlike previous threads on new identities, the criticism could be thoughtful and well-argued. So far I am delighted with the response – thank you to everyone who has posted.

    @Dave – a more detailed brief and responses will be featured in the August issue of CR

  • Rachel

    @ Benny Lethal
    If you can’t read it, you probably wouldn’t be going to the Science Museum or any other museum.

    Plenty of people with all different disabilities go to museums, and why shouldn’t they?
    JW makes a valid point.

  • JB’s working process was analytical, logical – no wait – scientific. Highly appropriate and I like it.
    And the typeface manages to convey the idea that it is governed by a set of immutable rules – just like science itself eh?

  • Unfortunate

    Criticism is very easy. Especially the sort where you are just slinging crap at each other. And without seeing the brief and knowing the full story I always feel even considered critiques are difficult. So my humble opinion is formed only from looking at the pictures above – much like Joe Public.

    I’ve seen many inspiring museum and gallery identities over the last couple of years; Walker Art Center, New Museum, South Bank to name a few. This Science Museum system is unfortunately quite forgettable in comparison.

    In an effort to make it feel scientific and futuristic it inevitably looks cliched and dated. It screams of other eras, except the one in which it actually lives. Unlike the 2012 branding, where the reaction seemed to stem from its modernity, the reaction here is because it’s just not modern at all. Even the colour seems dreadfully old-fashioned.

    As a piece of typography it doesn’t work. The ‘i e” is illegible and reads as an e. It reminds me of when I first started using Illustrator, drawing rudimentary letters with ‘snap to grid’ turned on.

    In it’s application it feels confused and ironically lacking in identity. The two posters above could be from different venues.

    I can’t work out where this is positioned or who it is aimed at? So, for me at least, it doesn’t work on any level.

  • Tom Redfern

    An institution such as the Science Museum attracts a large amount of visitors who are tourists from overseas, and perhaps English may not be their first language. It is therefore unfortunate that JB have designed a brand that is difficult to read if English IS your first language.

    The brand reminds me of many of those used in the digital media arena, but I’m not sure if this is the right association for a museum who’s purpose is to educate about all areas of science – both modern and historical?

    While this ‘on-trend’ and typographical brand is adaptable for many different purposes, I think that JB should have produced something which told the story pictorially, so that any visitor, regardless of language would be able to identify this great institution as the Museum of Science.

  • I think the way the type was used here made me work to read it, to figure out what it was saying, almost like a puzzle, which in some way is what the science museum is all about. Science is a puzzle we have invented for ourselves in order to work out how things work. Some body earlier said the images looked a bit Stock, which I agree with with. I hope this new branding works, the science museum is always a great

  • chris

    i like the whole look and idea behind the rebrand, but while this will appeal to young people it doesn’t seem to have longevity (so it can continue to be used in 2 years time) neither does it feel like its a celebratiion of the museums strong heritage

  • I love it. It’s relevant, has that slight injection of wit, beautifully crafted and the overall personality seems spot on. The detailing, graphic language and the fantastic imagery of great photographers like Lee Funnell and John Ross ensures that the identity will evolve and continue to develop over the years, probably into something very different to what we are seeing right now.

  • I work in Cape Town South Africa, and down here we generally think that 1st world countries are on a higher level of design than most of us, this just proves that theory wrong, [comment deleted by moderator]

  • dan

    ME
    DI
    OC
    RE.

  • ilovedogfood

    Dear West Smith

    If it was by Farrow we would definitely not be bagging it because they are Patrick’s mates….

  • Felix

    what decade is this?

  • Roger Mann

    We work in a navel gazing industry do we not? As in other creative professions, few have heard of the protagonists within them save perhaps architecture. So who outside of our band of brothers and sisters has heard of Johnson Banks or how they approach their projects? Virtually no-one which is why this has to be judged on an objective level. Is it representative of the institution? Is it individual.? Does it work? Mostly I would say yes although a colour tint banding would have helped readability in the logo stack and I’m surprised that wasn’t explored.

    It’s actually a damn site more solid than Woolf Olins’ prancing piper for BT which was wrong from the outset and hung around for years so maybe we’ll all come to love it.

    We’re also back to teenage comments here which amazingly are not deleted – depressing if we’re to hold a studied comparison of opinion.

  • // codes, puzzles, patterns and basic digital typefaces // it’ll not be easily for everyone to read it . i know it goes for specific audience , but they should decode it at first to read it ( although i think that’s could help to make it stick in their minds ) . don’t sure about ( i and e )

  • Howard Carter

    I find the positive steering of the comments quite bizarre. By all means moderate needlessly abusive comments etc. but this work is objectively quite poor and I am struggling to find something positive to say. For me this outcome conjures up over spec’, dysfunctional and clunky exhibitions and dirty tea trays, not nano technology, Higgs–Boson and LHC, Chaos Theory…

    Old science, old branding dinosaur vision.

  • Ben

    What a shame there was no vision onboard this project. The logo exploration is something i would expect a very average student to come up with in the first half hour of a project and then discard. There was an opportunity to raise the bar for the science museum here, bringing class to a great institution who rightly need to reach a wider audience, but have ended up with a logo which may appeal to unimaginative teenagers from the mid 90s. My design agency would have chewed off its right arm for an opportunity like this. What shamelesly lazy design, backed up with waek marketing dribble. It feels dated already, and as a regular user of the science museum with my kids, I will be seething at the site of this branding every visit, which has just cheapened the whole experience. When will the big institutions learn, throughing money at the big ‘successful’ agencies just pays for their holidays!

  • IMO it’s an interesting piece of typography, but it’s not really great as a logo or as a useful piece of corporate branding for the client. If you look at the science museum’s website, they don’t seem to have been able to do much with it — they don’t use it for a favicon, they don’t use the font for anything other than the banner headline, and it doesn’t work well enough in small sizes to be useable as a signoff ident or a bullet. If you look at the bottom of their pages, the Facebook, Twitter YouTube and Flickr logos have been damped down to monochrome to stop them competing too strongly, and they still jump ff the page better than the Museum’s own logo.

    The website for the Science Museum’s shop /does/ have a browser icon that uses the letterms SM … but in a different font. And has anyone noticed that in the photograph at the top of the article, with the three posters spelling out “S”, “C”, “I” , the poster designer has changed the “I” to a capital with oversized serifs instead of the lower-case version used in the logo? Using a lower-case “i” thoughout might have been interesting as a reference to the “i” symbol used on information signs, but they threw away the chance to do something clever and /definitely/ quirky, and appropriate to the museum’s function.

    Looking at the font profile, I also don’t like the apparently inconsistent use of bevels that you can see when you compare the adjacent upper-case “E” and “F”. If you’re going to break normal typography construction rules, it’s nice if you can do it sufficiently quirkily or blatantly to make a statement. This just seems to be a bit “quietly random”, and tends to suggest confusion and incomprehensibility rather than confidence or clarity.

    Overall, I don’t think the redesign says “Science Museum” to the viewer. It doesn’t look like a museum logo, it looks more like something that an art gallery or a design consultancy might have frosted onto a glass door in a small office building.
    In fact, it looks like someone has made it by putting masking tape onto a glass window, so as the basis of a logo for an “arts and design” company or poster company, it might be really quite good, but it’s really not a great logo for a science museum.

    I don’t see them chiselling this into marble as a permanent organisation logo: I expect they’ll stick with it for a while and then change it again. It might be salvageable … for instance, they could seize on the “grid” aspect and use the four-by three grid of squares as a motif … but as a corporate rebranding exercise, the design hasn’t been followed through consistently, or used to produce a range of useful designs for different situations. Notice that for the “Science Museum”-branded products they use a different logo that’s easier to read — this one wasn’t good enough to be used on the boxes.

  • You guys – critics are all CRAZY! I’m not sure if I’m coming from a wide-eyed American, California, be at that.. I LOVED this rebranding. Amazing stuff from Johnson Banks!

    This is one of the coolest, certainly most innovative and fresh approach to branding for a SCIENCE museum out of all places! I think it was so brilliant, certainly memorable and I actually took a photo of the Tube huge poster ad I saw of it last May. Just check out some of the museum branding we have here in the States… and you should feel fortunate to at least have the appreciation for good marketing and branding.

    Kudos Johnson Banks!!
    Irene Y. from Los Angeles, California

  • Barry

    I like it. Some of the best design tends to annoy the hell out of people.

    It’s either that or we use Swiss style typographic grids with Helvetica, like so many other up-their-own-ass clones out there do on virtually every single project.

  • Kees

    Beatiful logo, love it. There seems to be a lot of professional jealousy around on this forum though.