The museum identity project for my Graphic Design II course at MassArt had me completely redesign a museum's branding system. From logo to applications, the system needed to better reflect the mission, exhibits, and values. I personally chose the New England Aquarium since it always brought me joy to see marine life—plus I felt passionate about their core philosophy. Throughout the design process, I took into account multiple parts of the Aquarium's character to create an identity system that better reflected the space's look, influence, and personality.
Taking multiple visits to the aquarium gave me a sense of what to focus on and what was most important to its visitors. With a large emphasis on interactivity, playfulness, and education—children and younger audiences were a significant focus. Having this in mind, a logo system that radiated welcoming, friendly, and a somewhat silly experience was only fitting. With touch tanks, indoor and outdoor exhibits, a theater, and the giant cylindrical central tank, there were a lot of features that made this Aquarium truly unique and iconic.
A logo system that radiated a welcoming, friendly, and somewhat silly experience was only fitting.
By modifying the name of the aquarium to its colloquial expression, the location became much more recognizable and specific. New England Aquarium became Boston Aquarium—easily telling its viewers the city it resides in and represents. Combining playful, youthful shapes with the new name, and iconography for the animals in their exhibits, this logo system truly reflected the idea and personality of the space. Having multiple interchangeable icons not only kept the lockup dynamic, but it gave attendees, employees, and kids a fun way to pick the animal they like the most.
Kinetic ads like those in MBTA stations would provide an engaging video presence. Using the live cameras already established by the aquarium, these ads would dynamically present real-time movement of the marine life in the center tank. This way, people around the city can get a glimpse of the actual exhibit on their commute.
To complement the system I had to pick a color palette and typeface duo that matched all the themes and elements originally noted. Since the logo typography was hand drawn, the typefaces needed to add to the essence of the logo, without mimicking it. Circular for headers and Freight Macro for body was the final pairing. Circular resembled the geometric and uniform stroke of the logo while Freight Macro was extremely legible at small sizes. With subtly quirky elements but a traditional feel, Freight Macro reiterated the lighthearted spirit while reinforcing the sophistication the Aquarium still provided. The Brand colors consist of aquamarine teal, deep sea indigo, and coral reef pink. Together, these colors resembled the playful and welcoming spirit—without defaulting to a scheme that appeared too childish or kid-only. Making use of this color triad would bridge the gap of all age groups just like the Aquarium itself.