Birmingham Museums Trust is the largest trust of its kind in the UK and home to the largest civil collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world as well as the Staffordshire Hoard. It has nine museums in the collection including Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, Thinktank and The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.
Brand concept and logo development
The client wanted a brand that was relevant to the people and stories of Birmingham’s industrial past. They wanted something that was ownable and that would create a family theme for their nine heritage sites.
Research uncovered a heritage that would be the envy of any city across the world with stories of industry and innovation at the heart of the cities history. One such story was from Matthew Boulton, a renowned industrialist and inventor who, in 1790, struck the world’s first completely round modern coin, manufactured on the first steam powered machine. This coin inspired the main trust identity and the typography was adapted to created the ‘BM’ letters for the overarching trust logo.
Heritage site logo development
Aston Hall brand story
During our visit we discovered a family crest, belonging to the Holte family. Sir Thomas Holte was responsible for building the hall between 1618-1635. The squirrel, which sits at the top of the crest is widely recognised and has several references throughout the site. This gave us a great focus point. We also wanted to use the park and gardens as a Jacobean style pattern to help add detail and flexibility in order to continue the circular design theme.
We continued our approach for each of the nine heritage sites, searching for those stories and iconic visuals that would inspire their unique indentities.
Heritage site logos
The circular design was used for each of the nine heritage sites with unique typography created to provide ownership. Each icon was taken from the stories at each site, for example, the squirrel at Aston Hall was taken from the Holt coat of arms and the lion at Weoley castle from a medieval tile found at the site.
Colour and typography
Birmingham Museums Trust hold the largest civic collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world, so what better place to draw our influence for our colour palette. The bright and intense colours used during that period remain modern and contemporary today.
Designed in Birmingham by John Baskerville, this timeless font, pays homage to the past and provides a traditional feel for the serious corporate work of the Trust. Coupled with Ubuntu a new modern font, and a suite of handwritten fonts we provided a flexible typographic platform for the Trust.
The Mini Museum gallery is specially designed to provide an engaging place for children aged 5 and under to experience and engage with Birmingham Museums’ collections. The identity followed the roundel brand theme but this time with pictograms and bright colours were used to engage with the target audience.
Next door to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the Waterhall Gallery, the home for Modern and Contemporary arts in the city. Once again, the identity followed the roundel brand theme with a clean, simple bold circle and black and white colourways used to bring a different feel to the brand and engage with modern arts audiences.