Base Design transform MFA from an intimidating museum space to a progressive community-driven hub
International creative firm Base Design have redefined Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) as a place for everyone and not simply the elite; leading its revitalised identity with the maxim ‘Here All Belong.’ In the face of its prestigious reputation and the neoclassical architecture of the space, MFA had become somewhere intimidating and inaccessible to the average joe, despite a shift to community initiatives and the diversity of their art, which Base Design sought to better convey.
Embodying the institution’s reality, Base Design embued MFA’s identity with a fundamental warmth and humanity, resulting in a welcoming, inclusive visual language. This achievement comes from the studio’s powerful combination of type and colour, turning towards a bold, flexible palette that allows for bursts of vivid hues and vibrant shades. Furthermore, the use of red not only acts as a historical reference to MFA’s previous brand colour but also plays a functional role within messaging and wayfinding systems.
Bringing the identity’s chromatic and systematic elements together is the prominent use of typography, with a bespoke typeface created by Base Design sitting at the brand’s core. “We feel the typeface’s balance of being a contemporary sans serif that is also imbued with personality and a welcoming spirit reflects MFA as a museum,” Base Design tell us – somewhere which is both forward-thinking and academic, whilst ultimately shaped by human experience.
The custom typeface also comes armed with distinctive, flourishing extended curves, providing ownable alternates for its letterforms which, in some cases, also manifest in combined ligatures. “From numerous community programmes to exhibitions featuring the work of under-represented artists,” Base Design explain, “MFA Boston has been working hard to become a highly inclusive museum where all feel welcome,” shaping and establishing the space as somewhere new. “The extended letters are meant to visually reflect the idea of connection and inclusivity, that the museum is working to foster.”