Founded in 1937, The Contemporary Craft Gallery became one of the country’s leading exhibitors of craft. While it had become a sentimental Pacific Northwest favorite in a thriving craft movement, a poor location and lack of forward-looking programming threatened it’s viability. A new name and mission were required to assure it’s future.
Creating an identity for any kind of museum has unique challenges.
The parochial attitude is a museum identity should be invisible in order that the art come forward. This is understandable, but has two shortcomings. It creates a scenario where an identity becomes no identity, therefore communicates nothing of the institution’s mission. Second, it makes the erroneous assumption the creative process cannot provide a path to an identity that successfully treads the line between taking a backseat to the art it stewards while saying something unique about the museum itself. It goes without saying, we believe otherwise.
The goal was to successfully move the brand position of the Museum from that of a quaint craft gallery to the relevant museum f craft and design it has become.
After a full exploration, the decision was made to design a custom typeface. Letterforms crafted by hand were the appropriate response. The spirit of design and handcraft would be embedded in the identity’s creation. The concept of transforming raw materials into something new – and the transformative power of art – would be conveyed by the simple fact of a shift in weight from the beginning of the work mark to the end. Exploration included serif letterforms and sans serif forms. In the end, the hand-drawn, sans serif typographic solution provided the proper balance between a unique identity that sat subservient to it’s subject, but conveyed a relevant and contemporary image.
The new Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is now a vibrant center for investigation and dialogue that helps expand the definition and exploration of craft and design.