On July 12th 2011 the new Sammy Ofer Wing of the National Maritime Museum opened its doors with an impressive new set of offers for visitors.
Our new branding was launched with a high-profile campaign (which we created) supporting the opening of the new Wing. Initial reports of the success of the re-brand and re-grouping are already showing visitor numbers up over a third (35%) on last years numbers.
The new wing and the rebranding come at a time of renewal and greatly increased profile for the Museum, for Greenwich and for the World Heritage Site as a whole. In 2012 , Greenwich Park will host the equestrian events for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition, to tie in with Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Greenwich is to be given the rare honour of becoming a Royal Borough in recognition of Greenwich’s global significance as the home of the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Mean Time and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kevin Fewster, Royal Museums Greenwich Director says “This is the most important year for the National Maritime Museum since it opened in 1937. The new brand identity sets out to reflect these dynamic changes — that will run across all the four sites and programmes.’
The museum itself has undergone a fundamental shift in its outlook. The new Sammy Ofer Wing sits at the heart of the Greenwich site becoming the new main entrance – positioned between the main museum building and the world famous observatory at the top of the hill. This represents a new focus on attracting visitors to see the site as a whole, rather than disparate elements.
Not only this but the new wing will also contain the museum’s first fee paying exhibitions (the rest of the museum remains free of charge) which will create an opportunity for the museum to host ‘superstar’ exhibitions beginning with High Arctic, a truly unique immersive installation by United Visual Artists and Royal River, curated by David Starkey in 2012.
The permanent galleries are also undergoing a substantial curatorial and design rethink (albeit on a longer timeline) best exemplified by the Voyagers Gallery, an ‘orientation space’ dedicated to summarising the museum’s new outlook.
Interaction and storytelling are key to this new approach of ‘stimulating curiosity’. Data driven real-time projections, personalised keycards and the opportunity to contribute all form part of the corporate plan for the next ten years in a sustained effort to leapfrog the museum beyond its more centrally located London competition.
We had to create an identity that would not only embody this new outlook but inspire the loyal workforce of academics, gallerists, astronomers, archivists and marketeers who have all been swept along with this process of change – no small task.
As for the visual identity, David Law, co-founder of SomeOne explains “Our inspiration was the idea that the achievements and discoveries made in Greenwich in navigation, time-keeping, astronomy and technology, resonated and echoed around the globe, like the ripples from a stone dropped into a millpond – the National Maritime Museum naturally has to be the splash.”
Karl Randall, Senior Designer at SomeOne says “We wanted to make as big a splash as possible for the Museum, so we decided to create a 21st century image rendered entirely in CGI which would give us the opportunity to animate and light it, creating a flexible brand world that could evolve and adapt over time.”
David Law, co-founder of SomeOne explains “We created an entirely bespoke ‘splash’ that we then lit with different colours to make individual splashes for each of the three sites – sea blue for the Maritime Museum, gold for the Queen’s House and Royal purple for the Observatory. The ‘Group’ splash is clear water to represent the whole.”
David Law, co-founder of SomeOne continues “The best part is that people see different things in the splash — some see a crown, others see a ship, there’s even a star constellation amongst the droplets. We decided that it would be more reflective of the diverse offer of the group to keep these elements subtle, so you see a splash first and foremost, then maybe something else at a second glance – like seeing shapes in clouds.”
Karl Randall, Senior Designer at SomeOne elaborates “Alongside this, we have employed the beautiful typeface ‘Farnham’ by Christian Schwartz as a group typeface family for all communications. It is a contemporary take on 1700’s punchcutter Johannes Fleischmann’s work. Known for its ‘sparkle’ on the page, Farnham has been designed for the digital age and for us really reflects the new directions of the museum as a whole whilst acknowledging the past.”
As the identity rolls out, the splash will ‘come alive’ as the ‘liquidity’ brand world is further employed across digital signage and gallery projections.
SomeOne has produced an inspiring identity for us which reflects the huge steps we are taking to engage with our visitors in a contemporary, more conversational way.
Lord Sterling, Chairman of the National Maritime Museum said: “Our maritime story is Britain’s national story. And understanding the way the past has shaped the present never been more important in enriching our understanding of the world and providing inspiration for the future. This visionary transformation would not have been possible without the support of Sammy Ofer and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In the Sammy Ofer Wing, our new exhibition space will introduce new generations of visitors to the many rich narratives bound up in our maritime story”.
The Royal Observatory (Home of Greenwich Mean Time — GMT)
The rebranding comes at a time of renewal and greatly increased profile for the site, for Greenwich and for the World Heritage Site as a whole. In 2012 , Greenwich Park will host the equestrian events for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition, to tie in with Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Greenwich is to be given the rare honour of becoming a Royal Borough in recognition of Greenwich’s global significance as the home of the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Mean Time and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you think of Greenwich, you think of the meridian and standing on the ‘line’ between the eastern and western hemispheres (usually aged 10 and with your class group). The observatory has always been the ‘star’ of the Greenwich site, with astronomy and matters of the universe constantly in the news. Perched on the high ground however, it’s disconnected with the rest of the site.
Our challenge was to bring it into the group, representing the Observatory in a brand identity principally themed by water.
The breakthrough was incorporating a constellation amongst the water droplets of the ‘splash’ – if you look hard enough, the Pleiades will reveal itself…
The droplets become stars and the brand world becomes Royal purple to match the status of the observatory. We have been busy creating a branded experience in and around the Meridian courtyard designed to direct and stimulate the crowds as they wait to stand on the line. The aim is to highlight the wealth of knowledge available to view at Flamsteed House besides the meridian line. Flamsteed was built by Christopher Wren and is home to the Astronomers Royal and the Harrison clock collection.
We rebranded the Queen’s House (The birthplace of British architectural Classicism)
James I gave the manor of Greenwich to his wife Anne in apology for having sworn at her in public, after she accidentally shot one of his favourite dogs while hunting in 1614!
The Queen’s House was commissioned by Anne as a private pavilion and place of retreat. An architectural gem, it was Inigo Jones’ first important commission and the first fully classical renaissance building seen in Britain.
Today it houses one of the country’s most important collections of Maritime fine art and is somewhat the unsung hero of the World Heritage Site.
We felt that gold would be the perfect colour scheme for such a regal building and the collateral reflects and befits its heritage and modern day purpose as gallery and hireable venue.
Anecdotally, people see the splash as a crown when it’s in gold, perfect for a royal pavilion! (although they still get letters addressed to the Queen apparently!)