The North Carolina Museum of Art gets a makeover


What’s in a logo?

According to NCMA director Valerie Hillings, in an open letter about the museum’s new brand, it’s about an “increased sense of belonging to the people’s collection,” the permanent free collection that is visible throughout the museum since the North Carolina legislature designated funding. in 1947.

This year marks the 75th since that historic move; according to the museum’s website, an “interdepartmental committee” spent two years researching and reinventing the people’s collection and the museum’s new visual identity, in hopes of showcasing the expansive outdoor spaces and community orientation of the museum.

An in-house graphics team then spent six months designing the new logo, which riffs on the exterior Tourbillon earthen sculpture by Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre, which was commissioned in 1999. The Clemson-hued ringed orange design, which perches atop the museum’s name in Arial font, replaces the thick geometric NCMA logo, which was designed by legendary design Pentagram in 2010 and included a custom typeface inspired by Black Mountain artist Josef Albers.

Not everyone shares the enthusiasm for the museum makeover. On Instagram and Facebook, dozens of comments ripped into the redesign.

“You all ditched a pentagram logo for an apple pencil drawn one in procreate? Wild,” user @jenna.bs_ wrote on Instagram.

Other users have expressed discomfort with the Sayre sculpt’s prominence in the new design.

“I love Sayre but his work is not representative of the whole museum,” user @giulio.rose.giannini wrote. “So let’s be honest, this looks like clip art or bad artarama painting logo of Jerry.”

“This is a logo for carving, not NCMA,” user @pan.joga echoed in the comments.

Other museums have faced similar criticism over the retirement of a beloved logo: In 2016, the renaming of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was dragged through the mud, although the reactions were finally calmed down.

On Instagram, user @aliapainter implored the museum to consider the backlash.

“@ncartmuseum Is it possible for you to consider all public input? This new logo and font really drives the museum crazy. Please let the design process continue. Our tax dollars have to pay for all this new signage and this new letterhead.”

NCMA will launch and celebrate the reimagined popular collection on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8.


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