South London’s intriguingly eclectic Horniman Museum and Gardens has a new mark and identity system, based on the bracket symbol, courtesy of Hat-trick
The Horniman was originally founded in 1901 by Frederick Horniman, Victorian tea trader and voracious collector. The museum, somewhat randomly, brings together musical instruments, anthropology and natural history. Previously it made use of an all uppercase mark by Carter Wong
However, it has just completed a £2.3m redevelopment of its gardens, which opened this week. “The brief we were given was to create a new brand that reflects the new unified offer of the renowned museum collections and the beautiful gardens,” explains Hat-trick design’s Jim Sutherland.
The new mark brings the gardens and museum together, while referencing the eclectic nature of the latter: “The idea of a ‘collection of collections’ was our starting point for the identity,” Sutherland says. “We took the idea of a bracket device and reflected it to create the distinctive H mark. This gives a very flexible device to present the variety of the collections and the many different facets of the organisation. It can be used both with imagery and editorially.”
Glass doors at the Museum using the H device
The bracket was drawn from scratch “as we couldn’t find a suitable shape that reflected to form the H,” Sutherland says. “It was then redrawn by Charles Stewart, an amazing lettering artist we use a lot. It is a combination of a square and curly bracket.” The Museum and Gardens text is set in Benton Sans which is also used for signage.
The bracket device is also carried through into signage (above) and literature
While repeat patterns (mixed with other bracket types) are used as a decorative or illustrative device
Bags and wrapping paper (above) are currently in production as is a set of bookends (prototype shown below) for sale in the Museum shop
All in all, this feels like a really elegant, appropriate and well-executed scheme. The bracket device provides endless opportunities for both communications and the all-important merchandise while neatly referencing the unique offer of the Horniman.
Creative directors: Gareth Howat, Jim Sutherland
Designers: Gareth Howat, Alex Jurva, Jim Sutherland
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