New England museum unveils bright, modern brand
North America was discovered because of seafaring vikings, and later, seafaring Italians. Its relationship with the sea by no means ended in 1492. Throughout its days as a British colony, an independent nation and a world superpower, the United States has maintained this historical connection to the sea.
Nowhere has that maritime past and present been more apparent than in New England – home of Boston (of tea party fame), the US Coast Guard Academy and the fisheries and canning industries. The newly renamed Mystic Seaport Museum celebrates this heritage with exhibitions about the US’ maritime connections. On 1 May, the museum unveiled a new brand and name, adding ‘museum’ to the existing ‘Mystic Seaport’ moniker.
Mystic, Conn. (of pizza fame) itself has a long history with maritime industries. Its name is a Pequod term referring to a maritime phenomenon and its past is full of whaling legends. It sits within New London County – home of the Coast Guard Academy. The museum new brand takes that history and crafts it into something modern, digitally friendly and exciting.
The new logo, comprised of stacked white-on-orange blocks of text, is a modern interpretation of the shape of a ship’s hull and of waves approaching the shore. New York agency Carbone Smolan worked with the museum on the rebrand. In a tweet, the agency writes, “Delighted to launch the new @mysticseaport identity today. It elevates the rich heritage of the museum and its collection while speaking with an unexpected, imaginative, inspiring and honest voice.”
A new strapline, ‘Radical craft. Get into it.’ sets the tone for the new brand language and attitude. The website is easy to use, with large, colourful photos and quite a lot of orange. The new branding replaces a traditionally designed red, white and blue logo with serif typeface proclaiming, ‘Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea.’ The new approach offers better flexibility for digital applications and reflects the ambitious, modern goals set by the museum’s leadership.
Mystic Seaport Museum president Steve White says, “Today’s audiences value the community that a museum creates. By restoring the word ‘Museum’ to our name, we celebrate and showcase history while making a space for people to talk and think about issues that matter to them. Museums are contemporary centres of community and discourse and we are updating our identity to reflect that role.”
The new identity also includes new, vivid orange signage in Mystic and an ad campaign designed to inspire a stronger connection between Americans and their maritime heritage.
For more from Transform magazine, follow us on Twitter @Transformsays