Museum Identity - Custom typeface or no?

blitzen's picture

Hi everyone,

This is a class project: an identity for the Museum for African Art. I'm wondering if adding a custom typeface to the project will complicate it with too many elements.

Below are rough sketches:

(A) My original logo concept: symbol with wordmark (in Verlag). Verlag is used throughout the identity as a display and text face.

(B) Symbol with wordmark in a custom typeface (I haven't built out the entire font however). I like how strong the type looks when big and overlaid on an image, but does it clash/fight for attention with the symbol?

My gut says the symbol and custom face are both viable options, but maybe not when used together.

I've been wrestling with this for a while.
Thanks so much for your feedback!

Luma Vine's picture

The custom face feels too geometric and suggests hi-tech a bit too much for your subject. Option A feels museum-y but you could probably explore some other options that spoke more to the subject. The logomark is really impressive, and suggests a lot that I associate with the subject.

penn's picture

I'd definitely go for 'A'. Much more harmonious with the rest of the identity styling.

aluminum's picture

I agree. The mark is very strong. And, obviously, the art itself will be very strong, so a typeface that doesn't draw too much attention to itself is probably the best bet.

blitzen's picture

Thanks for the feedback everyone. The custom face does clash a little. For what it's worth, here was another custom face I was playing around with.

Overall I agree that the logo should play the lead role, with a simpler typeface as a supporting role.


blitzen's picture

Oops forgot the attachment.

Luma Vine's picture

Are you trying to echo the squareness of the mark in the angular forms of the letters? Still there seems to be the wrong message to me. Too geometric, mechanical.

blitzen's picture

Yes Luma, that's what I was trying to do. Verlag (pointy geometric) does that job decently, but I wanted to see if there was any other alternative =P

penn's picture

The custom types are nice and would be great to have tucked away for another project.

Thomas Phinney's picture

You may want to learn a bit more about type design. For example, the idea that in order to *look* monoline, the horizontal strokes need to be thinner than the vertical strokes. I'm guessing that you have made them the same thickness, which makes the horizontals look slightly heavier than the verticals.

There are some other minor suggestions I'd make, but in any case I agree that those styles are not as well suited to the project, anyway.



timaarts's picture

Definitely option A!

Verlag works fantastic I think. Love the colors and your ziggy zag theme too.

kongur's picture

Your logomark looks impressive. I definitely get the tribal feeling. Besides you can easily transform the abstract symbol into information design for instance to classify wide range of things, wayfinding design and galleries. I also think the simple elegance of Verlag doesn't steal the lead role from the identity design.

It is a nice idea to experiment custom typefaces to match – a unique touch in my opinion. But I think your proposal takes me to the wrong eras: Constructivism, De Stijl, Sci-fi. Nowhere near tribal and earthy tones of the African culture.

blitzen's picture

Thanks for the great feedback, everyone - your thoughts were smart and encouraging. Now that we've solved this little dilemma, I'm motivated to forge ahead!

Thomas - yea, I knew the custom type needed lots of fine tuning. I certainly didn't take enough off the horozontals! Perhaps I'll work this face up in the future as a personal project.

Unified's picture

agree option A all the way. the only thing i might ask is, should the mark be centered horizontally with the words?

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