Irma Boom designs new logo for Rijksmuseum

Irma Boom has designed a new logo for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, replacing the previous logo by Studio Dumbar, which had been in place for 32 years.

Irma Boom has designed a new logo for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, replacing the previous logo by Studio Dumbar, which had been in place for 32 years.

The above image, by Johan van Walsem, shows Boom watching the logo being unveiled on the exterior of the museum. Shown below is the new logo in full:

And here is the previous one by Studio Dumbar:

Speaking of her design, Boom comments: “My starting point was the fact that the Rijksmuseum is a national museum with international appeal. The design is clear and powerful and anchors the museum in the present.” Her design is clean and simple and puts clear emphasis on the Dutch ij digraph (more on that here), which was also a feature of the recently redesigned identity for the Stedelijk Museum by Mevis and van Deursen (see Michael Evamy’s CR piece, here).

The new Rijksmuseum house style also incorprates a newly designed typeface, developed by Paul van der Laan of the Bold Monday font foundry, and a colour palette which is based upon highlights of the museum’s collection. Below are some uses of the new logo on Rijksmuseum merchandise:

Boom, who is perhaps best known for her book designs, is also responsible for the design of all the publications for the new Rijksmuseum. Subscribers to CR can read more about her work in this feature, which appeared in the December 2011 issue of Creative Review.

  • Kirsten Alicia

    Much better.

  • A tremendous improvement over the previous identity system. It will be interesting to see how the mark the plays out in other contexts. One note to the writer: the term is “digraph” which is quite different from “diagraph”.

  • Facundo

    rUks museum? mmm…

  • this is a typeface not a logo … easy way to fill your pockets Irma Boom

  • Good effort, a very neat and modern logo. “Rijksmuseum is a national museum with international appeal”, we can’t help to think that as british we don’t get this “digraph”, it almost appears as a stylised U and not a I and J.

  • Eliza Williams

    @ Hillerns

    Have corrected now.

  • zuko

    Not sure about that S; looks like its leaning forward

  • joe

    looks good i think people are just looking for any reason to point out the negative.

  • chris

    nice combination of i and j great work
    Graphic Designing

  • jeffrey

    It seems to close to verdana to me, and the typeface and the applications all look rather… boring. Sorry, but why can’t museums in a design crazy country not look a little more crazy and exciting? Sorry for the negativity, and surely some of you will object, but why is there no more experimentation, why not a little more of the exhuberance that Boom puts into her books? I can’t believe it… :(

  • What are the actual phonetics here though? It’s nothing like the letter ‘U’…. Which for constitutes as a complete failure in the concept and structure of this ‘logo’. You can’t deny, that the legibility of the logo is emphasized towards the word ‘RUKS’. Which is actually spoken and reads completely different to ‘RIJKS’.

    It sure looks good. Is that really all we’re supposed to be doing these days? What happened about actually communicating correctly? Can we no longer combine the two?

  • gerrit de boer

    ‘t ruk museum

  • Totally in agreement with Facundo: specially in small reproductions, or from a distance you read ‘RUKS…’

  • Thomas

    Frankly, it’s a terrible logo. It looks like a huge typo. In Dutch, ‘Rijksmuseum’ is one word, there is no space between Rijks and museum. It’s like designing a logo for Sainsbury’s and coming up with ‘SAINS BURY’S”.

  • I really like the way the I and the J are spaced. The typeface is immaculate I love how k s and the m are designed. That makes me wonder how all of the characters would look.

  • Bec

    @jeffrey The collections in the Rijksmuseum date from the 15th to the 19th century. There is nothing ‘experimental’ about these works and it would seem inappropriate to me to produce a ‘crazy’ identity for a museum that highlights the past.

    Opinions on the typeface and digraph aside, the simplicity of the new identity honours its traditional content (whilst also complementing that intensely ornate building!)

  • @bec I’ll think that you will find that a lot of the work in the museum was experimental for their time, especially Rembrant’s work!

    I think this is a boring bit of un-exciting typography.

  • When assessing the effectiveness of a design we should seek to understand the audience it is intended for and the context in which it will work. In the Dutch language the ij is of critical importance with both uppper- and lowercase variants having their own Unicode values (IJ #0132 and ij #0133)
    There is an extensive entry on Wikipedia, which states The IJ (lowercase ij) is the digraph of the letters i and j. Occurring in the Dutch language, it is sometimes considered a ligature, or even a letter in itself.

  • The last few sentences of my previous comment got dropped:
    Of course, Eliza’s post has already recognised this aspect of the design. I post only to add emphasis and direct it towards those who appear to have missed it.

  • dik mager

    Thomas (2012-08-26 13:48:16) is absolutely right and thousands of people have angrily reacted on the new logo (which is – by itself – a merit of just 10 (or 11?) characters in a row).
    Josten Dooley would like to see the whole ABC. Jeffrey thinks it is close to Verdana, but try the capitals of Lucida Console. What you get is confronting the same as the ‘newly designed typeface, developed by Paul van der Laan'[editor], except for the I and the J of course… Probably costed a fortune to complete an existing typeface with just one digraph!

  • it is unfortunately badly kerned (to start MU and UM is too narrow…..)

    The New Logo of het Rijksmuseum Amsterdam anno 2013 lacks imagination and courage.
    It just plays safe following the present logos of other famous musea. Strong however as plain text, easy readable and understandable, but dull. No wonder it resembles general art today. The world often instantly link Amsterdam with Rembrandt and the Rijksmuseum in that order. Therefore the logo should appeal to and attract foreign tourists. Art is about striking visual effect. The new logo does neither. A missed opportunity for Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    Bert Slagt, Dutch artist painter

  • robert

    Wow. The original by Studio Dumbar is really shoddy. Letterspaced lowercase. Inconsistent letterspacing generally. An unsympathetic border in an unsympathetic weight. A strange positive/negative shift coupled with an unsatisfactory sans serif/serif shift. And that U looks backwards to my eye.