Design for Museums, Theaters, and Cultural Institutions
“Now that culture is for everyone and everyone is for culture, culture is everywhere.” It’s a bold statement indeed, and one that appears along the spine of this smartly bound hardback title recently put out by Gestalten Press. Identity is a reflection of the cultural tempo of the times. museums, theaters, galleries, and other cultural hubs have come to represent spaces that educate us, and eventually culture us. However, when we look at the posters, banners, catalogs, and transport graphics that have been the reticent voices of these institutions for decades, we begin to wonder what has pinpointed the cultural tempo most effectively. Is it the artwork housed within these venues, or the design of the institution’s tangibly branded press artifacts?
Branding has been associated with industry, a comparatively lowbrow sect of culture, at least when defined in comparison to cultural institutions. Yet the gap between high and lowbrow culture is rapidly closing and overlapping. As art has become increasingly commercialized and branded, institutions have had to follow suit. This phenomenon is responsible for the evolving function and identity of the cultural institution as a whole.
This book reveals exceptional graphic designers that have worked with curators, forming an alliance or bridge between “institutions, artwork, and audience”—synthesizing a personality for these institutions that visitors engage with on a regular basis. Introducing: Culture Identities pays homage to the graphic designs and branding patterns that have shaped the way we perceive these salient cultural institutions. Graphic design in all forms, however subtle, from local to national museums, galleries, art fairs, and theaters, creates a web connecting cultural identities. The glue of this web is a connective aura produced by selective branding.
This title presents a collection of case studies and analyses forming a superb recourse for understanding the role of museums and other institutions. It is often overlooked that museums, such as MoMA, do in fact engage their viewers with highly effective branding tools, not unlike the ones we would find at the local Starbucks or dare I say it, McDonalds.