At the North Carolina Museum of Art, we believe in the power of art and how it can connect communities. So, when we set out to update our visual identity as another exciting layer to the reimagining of the People’s Collection, we didn’t have to look very far for inspiration.
The iconic rings of Gyre by Thomas Sayre visually encapsulate the Museum’s sweeping indoor and outdoor collection and the intersection of art, nature, and people. As a groundbreaking seminal commission in 1999 for the developing Museum Park, Gyre is by the hand of a North Carolina artist with international recognition.
Director Valerie Hillings talked with Sayre about his artistic process and the initial sketches of his first public earth-casting sculpture. From these conversations she worked with the graphic design team on a logo that evokes volume, forward motion, and a distinct sense of place. The textured gestural mark calls to mind the act of sketching or painting. These elements come together to represent experiences in both the Park and galleries that extend across the state of North Carolina and buoy us toward the future.
This new identity is the culmination of two years of research by a cross-departmental committee and six months of design conception by Museum graphic designers Christin Hardy, Allison Maslow, and Dave Rainey. They worked to visually communicate three key aspects unique to the NCMA: a one-of-a-kind indoor and outdoor campus experience; a sense of communal ownership inherent to the People’s Collection; and a celebration of North Carolina and its creative community.
Through programs, partnerships, and education initiatives, we bring the People’s Collection to all one hundred counties across North Carolina. We know that many visitors first encounter the NCMA through these off-site experiences, our website or a social media post, in an advertisement, or on a flier. We want these touchpoints to quickly communicate what makes the People’s Collection so special, signaling a sense of welcoming and belonging to all North Carolinians.
Our commitment to being accessible to everyone includes this new visual design. The brand contains hyperlegible typefaces and high-contrast colors for easy readability. These will be used across Museum communications, including the website, printed materials, social media posts, video and audio content, and email marketing. Efforts also include Spanish translations of campus signage, maps, and gallery text; captioned video and audio content; and accessibility icons to alert visitors to accessible areas and resources on campus.
What is the People’s Collection? It is yours.
In addition to creating a new look and feel, we recently refined our Museum mission and vision statements to focus on the ways we support North Carolinians through their state art collection.
The North Carolina Museum of Art stewards and shares the people’s art collection and inspires creativity by connecting our diverse communities to cultural and natural resources.
To be a vital cultural resource for the entire state and a national leader in creating a welcoming experience of belonging and joy
You can dig into our new look in this brand identity overview, which includes a letter from Director Valerie Hillings; dives into the “Museum voice,” mission, and values; and demonstrates the brand’s flexibility across platforms and usages.
Ghanaian artist Paa Joe memorializes the lives of Africans who passed through “The Gates of No Return” during the transatlantic slave trade. Two NCMA staffers respond to this moving work of art.
The NCMA’s new identity and logo were inspired by an iconic sculpture in the Museum Park. Get inside the mind of the Raleigh artist who created Gyre.