Decorating Tate: branding specialists North refresh the museum’s identity

North Tate
Parallel to the opening of the Switch House extension, Tate Design Studio have partnered with London-based branding specialists North to reconfigure the museum's typographic expression
(Image credit: North)

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.

The central concrete staircase at the base of Switch House

The much anticipated Herzog & de Meuron extension opens to the public tomorrow. Pictured: the central, concrete staircase at the base of Switch House

(Image credit: North)

North refresh the museum’s identity

North decided early on that redesigning the visual identity from scratch simply wasn't necessary

(Image credit: North)

Decorating Tate: branding specialists North refresh the museum’s identity

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'

(Image credit: North)

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'

Tote Bags yellow and black coloured

After looking into implementing an alternative, North decided to retain the existing logo's custom typeface, 'Tate Pro', but to control its usage more carefully

(Image credit: North)

Tate bags in orange coloured

The new, streamlined branding system has opted for just one, consolidated version of the logo, that succeeds across print, digital media and merchandising

(Image credit: North)

North design agency subtly alters Tate's visual identity

This new system hopes to unify all four Tate locations (including Tate Britain, pictured) across all possible channels

(Image credit: North)

Tate visual identity evolution

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

(Image credit: North)

Tate Georgia' o Keeffe

Tate's CMO Rob Baker adds, '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'

(Image credit: North)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit Tate’s website (opens in new tab)

Photography: North

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.