Responses by Ant Donovan, group creative director and Cat Burgess, strategy director, Frost*collective
Background: Established in 1991, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is Australia’s national center for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. Located in Sydney’s Darling Harbor and operated by the federal government, the museum welcomes over 850,000 visitors annually to its 12,000-square-feet of exhibition space. The brief was to communicate ANMM’s unique role, purpose and value in a punchy, engaging way, and establish a brand story that creates a unique and compelling narrative of the Museum’s value, purpose and experience across all audiences.
Reasoning: Visitors want immersive experiences. They want to feel and do; they want to be prompted to touch, see, hear or smell; they want to be part of an engaging, tactile moment. This drove the brand idea of the “Spirit of Adventure,” where the museum would embrace a more dynamic position and engaging experience. While the museum’s official name remains the same, the prominent MU-SEA-UM graphics on the front of the museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbor signals a dramatic change for the institution. The new brand is not just a new logo; it’s a thoughtful and strategic repositioning of the museum’s value, aimed to get people thinking more broadly about the sea and our relationship—both as a country and as individuals—with it.
Challenges: The lead times and production processes were quite long. This project has been four years in the making, where we spent a great deal of time consulting and collaborating with the institution’s many internal and external stakeholders and regulatory bodies. Though challenging, this approach meant that we were able to really consider each detail of our strategy and design—an opportunity we might not have had if the deadline was rushed.
Favorite details: The simplicity and playfulness of the new mark and what it symbolizes. Putting the word SEA into the brand’s heart is such a strong device to not only create a stronger emotional connection with the sea, but also with the institution charged primarily with maintaining that connection.
Visual influences: Not surprisingly, the many dimensions of the sea became our biggest influence. The color palette best reflects this thinking. Each color represents a spectrum of discovery and experience.
Specific demands: The clients had a very clear vision for who they were and who they weren’t; so, there were specific demands on the boundaries of how the brand could be articulated. Strangely though, limitations are a positive part of the process—you have to think more creatively; therefore, getting some unexpectedly unique results, which is what we delivered for ANMM.