The Brand Identity

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North brands the Oslo art museum tailor-made for the work of ‘The Scream’ painter Edvard Munch

Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) is one of Expressionism’s most significant artists, with his best-known work, The Scream, recognised globally as an artistic icon. In May 1963, a hundred years after the artist’s birth, Oslo City Council opened Munchmuseet in eastern Oslo as a celebration of Munch’s life and work. It steadily rose in popularity throughout the following decades and eventually outgrew its premises. So in 2013, after years of debate, the council commissioned Spanish architecture firm estudio Herreros to design a new museum in Oslo’s Bjørvika harbour district. The new space, which opens to the public in late 2020, contains 11 exhibition halls spread over seven floors. Its collection of 45,000 works makes it one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to one artist.

London-based agency North’s identity for the museum aims to be a “contemporary interpretation of Munch’s ethos” and to increase its appeal to younger audiences. The new graphic system is centred around a custom typeface, designed in collaboration with type foundry Radim Peško to mirror both Edvard Munch’s eccentric character and the building’s architecture. Respectfully bowing towards the city of Oslo, estudio Herreros’ design was in part inspired by a photograph of the artist in Warnemünde, Germany. Almost naked, he is pictured painting another almost-named man on the beach, leaning forward while doing so. The typeface, just like the building, features a back slant in homage to his inquisitive pose. The severe 20° angle creates a memorable typographic expression and recognisable voice for the museum.

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