RISD Museum - Brand Identity Concept
While studying at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Kevin Davies’ project was to propose a brand refresh for RISD Museum.
RISD Museum is one of America’s largest art and design museums, with over 100,000 objects in the collection. It is known for its diversity, spanning many nations, genres, and eras. The building boldly clashes modern architecture with a historical campus, drawing both tourist and student engagement. RISD Museum’s current brand identity was conceived over a decade ago. It has atrophied to the extent that the logo is not recognizable on the street signage, the website, and other key applications. Students were tasked with reimagining the design.
Kevin’s design process began with the greater context. RISD, founded in 1877, is often cited as one of the world’s leading design schools. However, it has limited continuity between its museum, store, academics, housing, and other prominent wings. RISD Museum has carried its own brand identity, as does the RISD Store, but several other wings do not and each system looks different from the rest, despite functioning as a brand family.
The new brand concept is designed to carry any of RISD’s sub-brands in a common masterbrand lockup, unifying the school’s identity. Kevin’s concept logo evolves the decorative swashes and interpuncts found in RISD’s iconic seal, creating continuity with the school’s historic design. Interpuncts are used to join the school’s name with each wing’s name in a modular stack or inline layout. The decorative swash, reworked to correct its Bezier curves and terminals, becomes the logomark and a key element of the brand concept.
Each year, innumerable pieces of art and design are produced at RISD but not showcased as part of the school’s current identity. Kevin’s brand concept immerses the swash into art and design, highlighting student or museum work as the core piece of a flexible identity system. The swash functions interchangeably as an interactive window for art, or as a graphic element that weaves inside of art. Type is treated in varying weights but never varying colors, keeping attention on the visual work.
All together, this forms a highly dynamic brand identity that can showcase art and design of any genre, properly framing the school and the museum as hosts to great work.