This was one of my first projects in my Master’s program, the brief was to rebrand a local museum. The timing was right after Kamala Harris’ historic election as Vice President, so this Women’s Museum in San Diego seemed like a perfect candidate to enhance through some fresh branding.
Women’s Museum of California is currently using a primarily light lavender color palette with violet buttons and accents. They recently expanded their logo to include a long tagline. They highlight a lot of bold, trailblazing women and the visual identity of the museum doesn’t seem to rise to the occasion in the same way as the punchy content.
The Women’s Museum of California highlights all kinds of powerful women throughout history, including Ruth Bader Gingsburg, Ida B. Wells, Coretta Scott King, and so many more. They are also very politically charged with exhibits like the History of Women’s Suffrage, Rockin’ the Political Boat, and their Feminist Buttons collection.
None of the women featured in the museum were apologetic or subdued, so it didn’t seem like the brand elements should be either. It made sense to amplify the message through bright colors, bold shapes and simple navigation.
The primary ideas for the logo were shapes that were strong and recognizable as representing women or femininity, such as circles and triangles, as well as bold type and colors.
I selected an upside down triangle, which historically represents female energy to move forward. The first version included 5 triangles and 3 different colors. The final version included 5 bold colors and a typeface that has sharp, pointed terminals for the W and a triangular apostrophe to mimic the logo triangles.
The feel of this brand is strength, boldness, and a lack of fear and timidity. It’s supposed to look at you like a woman who means business, but is also caring, hopeful, and able to find joy.
I tried out a popular cutout, paper technique with geometric shapes. However, after feedback from peers, realized it was too playful and unrefined and needed to move more toward the boldness of the brand. The circles will be replaced with harder lines and the text will need to be pared down and provided more negative space. The idea is less church potluck flyer and more branded poster.
The final version included a powerful photo of newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris with her fist raised and visible through an outline of the word Smash in Smash That Glass. This became a recurring theme throughout the rest of the brand. Text elements were given more hierarchy and variance and more space to breath.