Museum director Kevin Sumption PSM singles out the museum’s rebranding as the highlight of 2018–19.
Today’s visitors expect to have a very personal relationship with their museum. To do this we need to employ new technologies and ensure we have a clear and consistent message that’s evident in everything we do, from our merchandise to our exhibits. We also need a distinct way of speaking and communicating in order for the museum to be better heard, quickly recognised and, most importantly, easily remembered. These days there is heightened competition for people’s time, so it’s more important than ever to stand out in the crowded cultural marketplace of Sydney, which we sincerely believe our fresh new look will do.
After several years of research and design, the museum unveiled a bold new attention-grabbing logo and striking colour scheme inspired by the sea in December 2018.
The logo – which is used on the museum building, signage, website, uniforms, merchandise, publications, stationery and other collateral – overtly signals to the public the major changes that have been going on, inside and outside the museum, for more than five years.
The reaction to the logo from industry and the public has been overwhelmingly positive:
The old logo wasn’t very good nor interesting and its Copperplate Gothic typography was terrible with goose bump-inducing justified text. The first thing to notice about the new logo is obviously the mu-sea-um wordplay, which I find very satisfying, charming, and appropriate. Only maritime museums – or perhaps a museum in Seattle – can pull this off and props go to the Australian National Maritime Museum for doing it first.1
The logo was created by Frost*, one of Australia’s leading design companies, who noted:
While the museum’s official name remains the same, the prominent MUSEAUM graphics on the front of the museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour signal a dramatic change for the institution. The new brand is not just a new logo, it’s a thoughtful and strategic repositioning of the museum’s value, aimed to get people thinking more broadly about the sea and our relationship – both as a country and as individuals – with it.2
The museum’s staff, volunteers and visitors have a common bond – our passion and connection with the sea and its many stories – so our new brand has taken the word SEA to its heart to create a stronger emotional connection.
Our new brand implementation extends to all aspects of the visitor experience, including exhibitions, programs, our website and the physical environment, as well as our corporate planning and publications. Our achievements in these areas are detailed elsewhere in this report but I would particularly like to mention the refurbishment of the museum’s foyer and visitor amenities and the On Sharks & Humanity exhibition as exemplars of our rebrand.