In recent years, the Natural History Museum in London has not only claimed the title of the most frequented indoor attraction in the UK for 2021 and 2022 but has also captivated hearts worldwide with its architectural elegance and the treasures it holds within. For those yet to explore its grandeur, it’s an experience not to be missed, promising a journey through the wonders of the natural world, enriched by over 80 million items ranging from Charles Darwin’s collections to the awe-inspiring skeletons of dinosaurs and the mesmerizing display of one of the largest blue whales.

As it neared its monumental 150th anniversary, the museum embarked on a visionary mission to redefine its identity, aiming to deepen connections with its audience and amplify its impact across research, education, entertainment, and environmental advocacy. This ambitious goal was brilliantly brought to life through the collaboration of Marina Willer’s team at Pentagram and the creative minds at Nomad, who, after standing out among 270 competing agencies, were tasked with crafting a brand identity that resonates with both loyal visitors and newcomers alike.

The foundation of their creative endeavor was the insightful brand strategy provided by Heavenly, coupled with the museum’s forward-thinking business objectives. Marina Willer, a partner at Pentagram, shared that the essence of their design was to showcase the museum as a vibrant beacon for the planet, inspiring visitors to champion ecological change. They introduced the concept of transforming the museum from a mere repository of knowledge into a dynamic catalyst for inspiration.

At the heart of the new brand identity lies a symbol that encapsulates the interconnectedness of all natural entities, depicted through a circular motif of NHM. This emblem, resembling the energetic ripples of a sunburst, signifies the museum’s pivotal role in fostering a collective movement towards environmental stewardship.

Stuart Watson from Nomad reflected on the profound inspiration drawn from the museum’s diverse initiatives, leading to the creation of a symbol that vibrates with the rhythm of nature itself. Whether perceived as a dandelion, a school of fish, or a fossil, the design embodies the cyclical nature of life, from the grandeur of planetary cycles to the intricacies of microscopic organisms.

The reimagined brand also introduces a vibrant and inclusive color palette, designed to mirror the rich diversity of the natural world while inviting people from all walks of life to engage with the museum’s offerings. This versatile scheme supports the museum’s multifaceted voice, enabling it to adapt across its various platforms and activities.

An innovative aspect of the branding strategy is the Generator tool, developed with the expertise of Mat Hil, which empowers designers to craft patterns and Word Rings that are both cohesive and adaptable, ensuring the museum’s visual identity remains dynamic and engaging.

The introduction of NHM Wallop, a bespoke typeface developed by Displaay Type Foundry, encapsulates the museum’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. This typeface, with its friendly and confident demeanor, is a testament to the museum’s enduring relevance and its mission to welcome all.

The inclusion of motion in the brand’s visual identity, drawing inspiration from the natural world, infuses the museum’s presence with vitality and movement, reflecting the dynamism of nature itself. Through animations that respond to sound, the museum celebrates the beauty and diversity of life, encouraging a deeper appreciation and advocacy for our planet.

Marina Willer expressed immense pride in being part of this transformative project, emphasizing the crucial timing in light of the climate crisis. Through this renewed brand identity, the Natural History Museum aspires to inspire a new generation of environmental advocates, furthering its crucial mission in these pivotal times.

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