Decorating Tate: branding specialists North refresh the museum’s identity
In line with the much anticipated Herzog & de Meuron extension (itself celebrated with the graphic representation by Peter Saville with Paul Hetherington and Morph,) Tate has given its logo, online branding and merchandising a rejuvenating lick of paint.
Tate Design Studio enlisted the help of London-based branding specialists North to reconfigure the museum’s typographic expression. North decided early on that starting from scratch simply wasn’t necessary. Jeremy Coysten, North partner explains, ’For us to propose getting rid of the identity system entirely would be irresponsible and a selfish act as designers. Instead, we built on the existing brand equity, refreshed and strengthened what was working well.’
Tate’s highly recognisable logo was one of those branding aspects that ’just worked.’ After looking into implementing an alternative, North decided to retain the logo’s custom typeface, ’Tate Pro’, but to control its usage more carefully.
Previously, Tate employed multiple versions of the logo, including both lower-case and capital letter options, along with versions with multiple font weights, aiming to visually promote the museum’s ’Look again, Think again’ philosophy. However, the new, streamlined system makes use of just one, consolidated logo, that succeeds across print, digital media and merchandising. This new concept also hopes to unify all four Tate locations (Tate Britain, Liverpool, St Ives, as well as Tate Modern).
We’ve already seen this new, colourful branding in full swing in Switch House’s UXUS-designed Tate Modern shop. The vibrant, largely primary palette was chosen from the Tate Members commission by artist Martin Creed. These colourways will be refreshed every few years in collaboration with a new artist. So, just like the adaptable, modular retail experience, the updated visual identity has the capacity to evolve with the museum.
At such an exciting, busy time for the organisation, Tate’s CMO Rob Baker took time to add, ’What North have created has allowed us to realise the potential of the current identity, ensuring it can exist seamlessly across all platforms in a confident and expressive way.’ Confident is right. The new look is bravely simple, subtly achieved and quietly effective – it sees in the monumental Switch House opening with characteristic Tate class.