Hat Trick’s new identity for Imperial War Museums

Working with brand strategists Jane Wentworth Associates, London-based design agency Hat Trick has just unveiled a new identity it has created for the institution previously known as the Imperial War Museum…

Working with brand strategists Jane Wentworth Associates, London-based design agency Hat Trick has just unveiled a new identity it has created for the institution previously known as the Imperial War Museum

Now branded IWM (which stands for Imperial War Museums) the new identity looks to unify the five separate geographical sites (IWM London, IWM North in Manchester, IWM Duxford, the Churchill War Rooms in London, and also HMS Belfast) that make up the institution.

“Jane Wentworth Associates discovered that many people don’t realise that the Imperial War Museum is on more than one site,” explains Hat Trick’s Gareth Howat, “so the first thing was to unite this family of museums. JWA also did some work on the strategy and naming of it. Imperial War Museum is a bit of a mouthful so there was the idea that we should shorten it to IWM but also make it clear that this stands for Imperial War Museums in the plural.”

Imperial War Museum’s old logo

“The previous marque had been around for a while but seemed quite specific to World War II with its search lights which create a W and an M,” continues Howat. “IWM wanted to bring the marque up to date and in a way create something timeless. Jane Wentworth came up with the idea of the force of war which has the power to shape people’s lives. It’s this idea that the force of war can destroy something and at the same time create which informed the new logo design.”

“The marque is very simple, almost like a block that’s been fragmented and which pulls out the I, the W and the M,” says Howat. “The angles are taken from the previous marque. It’s a very graphic identity but the idea is it that it fuses imagery from the IWM’s extensive image and object archives.”

As well as the logo, Hat Trick has selected a colour palette for the brand and also the sans serif typeface InterFace (Dalton Maag), and created brand guidelines that IWM’s various in-house teams can reference to roll out the identity over the next two to three years. Interestingly, each of IWM’s five venues hasn’t been assigned a particular colour to identify it – apparently the client didn’t want to use colour to signify specific venues but instead wanted to be able to apply any of the selected colours for use with signage or literature relating to any of the different venues.

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