The Brand Identity

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North’s impactful identity for ACMI champions the inflexible restrictions of the screen

In time for it’s post-COVID reopening, ACMI have turned to renowned London-based design studio North, famous for their work on arts and culture identities, in giving new life to the Melbourne-based museum of screen-culture.

Influenced by the defined rigid restrictions of screens, be it a television set or a multiplex cinema, the new wordmark for ACMI is there to make a statement. Rather than standing to the side, in a secondary role to the identity like many museum brands, ACMI’s logo is bold and to be noticed. 

Jonathan Leonard, Designer at North, explains to us how this registers a shift in how the museum now approaches its identity, telling us “the strong geometry of the logo enables it to become part of the creative content, rather than reside in the corners of the format,” commenting that it “sometimes felt more like a sponsor rather than the curator.” Leonard notes how now the result is “a museum proud of its unique content,” becoming “a strong collaborator,” within arts and culture. 

The bespoke type that constitutes the wordmark truly reflects the diversity of screen and cinema, as well as the content within the museum – excluding an anomalous aesthetic that seems fairly transient of genre, with both elements of the historic elegance of Art Nouveau and the retro-futuristic digi-type of sci-fi films like Blade Runner. This is also reflected in the wordmark’s flexibility, adapting in colour and size depending on its use. 

The supporting typeface within the new brand identity is Px Grotesk; a typeface designed for, and thriving within, the screen. Both its context and its subtle demeanour make Px Grotesk not only appropriate for ACMI, but an exceptionally good pairing with the custom type of the wordmark. Leonard explains that “with much of the museum’s content being screen-related, a typeface designed with the screen in mind felt like a logical choice,” moreover, the pixel-like features of Px Grotesk “create a strong link to the digital foundations of the museum while complimenting the geometric properties of the logo.”

These strong geometric sensibilities, that also find their inspiration in the inflexible restrictions of the screen, are apparent throughout the brand’s application; with austere grids that, despite seeming initially restrictive, allow ACMI’s visual language to flourish. The resulting exercise of this branding manifests in exciting and dynamic typographic experimentation that echo ACMI’s intentions of being at the fore-front of anything made for the screen.

Typeface: Px Grotesk by Optimo

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