Work Arts_&_Culture

Art Gallery of NSW

Established in 1871, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) is one of Australia’s most iconic art museums. Mucho was selected from a list of distinguished local and international studios to redesign the Gallery’s visual identity in partnership with its in-house design team.

The Challenge

Public institutions like the Gallery are part of the nations’s cultural fabric, and the complexity of navigating through a high profile project like this can be daunting. Developing an identity that balanced 150 years of legacy with an ambitious and future-facing strategic vision was the key to success.

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The Strategy

The new visual identity aligns with a revised vision and purpose repositioning the Gallery as a key contributor to the cultural life of Sydney and Australia, exemplified by the mission statement ‘From here. For all.’ We understood that a key requirement of the brief was to rationalise and simplify the Gallery’s fragmented brand architecture. The sub-brand system applies a singular approach by utilising strict type and colour palettes, reinforcing the master-brand across all Gallery collateral.

The Solution

We conducted extensive research in the Gallery’s exhaustive archives and developed a creative territory inspired by AGNSW’s rich layers of history. We then developed a flexible and accessible system that reflects the dynamic institution and its increasingly broad range of audiences. Composed of three open-frames, the new symbol evolves the existing logo’s square form, referencing key features of the Gallery’s existing architecture and the dramatic new building by the renowned Japanese practice SANAA. A distinctive ultramarine blue is the brand’s primary colour, taking inspiration from iconic paintings of Sydney Harbour by renowned Australian artist Brett Whiteley.

From the design development phase onwards, we worked closely with the Gallery’s talented internal design team to refine our initial concept proposal. The system’s flexibility was rigorously tested by the Creative Studio across myriad applications including corporate marketing, publishing, activations, communications, digital and exhibition campaigns (the examples shown below were the result of this collaborative methodology). An identity for the 150th year was also designed as the scope of the project expanded. Motion design studio Gimmewings was commissioned to create a set of principles and guidelines for the ever-increasing volume of videos and animations required by AGNSW.

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Since becoming the ninth director in 2012 I’ve continued to consider the extraordinary history of our beloved state art museum as I lead the Sydney Modern Project expansion. The planning of a successful future relies on a deep understanding of our rich and complex history.
Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery of NSW
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A custom typeface named in honour of Australian modernist painter and printmaker Margaret Preston provides a unique tone of voice for the brand. Developed with type designer Vincent Chan from Matter of Sorts, it draws on research into the history of Australian graphic design by Chan and Mucho creative director Dominic Hofstede. Preston’s extended character set includes support for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The family strikes a balance between neutrality and personality, providing the Gallery with a broad typographic character.

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Mucho AGNSW Guidelines