The visual identity of the Stedelijk Museum is undergoing a radical reconsideration by Mevis & Van Deursen. Internationally renowned as one of the most inventive and acclaimed design agencies in the Netherlands, the duo had previously created the graphic identity of the museumís Temporary Stedelijk program from 2010 to 2012. The museumís visual rebranding will be further developed in the coming weeks, to be seen in a new logo, website design, publications, newsletter, stationery and posters, among other applications. In anticipation of the reopening of the Stedelijk Museum on September 23, the new campaign will be gradually unveiled.
Ann Goldstein, director of the Stedelijk Museum: “We are thrilled to continue our close relationship with Mevis & Van Deursen, whose extraordinary new graphic vision is perfectly at home at the Stedelijk Museum. They have created a remarkable new identity that performs typography like concrete poetry. In so doing, their elegant combination of art and artist-centered sensitivity and bold invent-iveness embodies the Stedelijk Museumís DNA and furthers the distinguished history of this institution as an international leader in graphic design.”
The Stedelijk Museum invited Mevis & Van Deursen to create a new visual identity to embody and reflect the aspirations and core values of the institution: open, distinct, fresh and original, in keeping with the Stedelijk is distinguished modernist graphic-design heritage.
Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen explain: “We were thrilled to be asked to design the Stedelijkís house style, and decided to create an entirely new visual identity. The graphic brand we developed for the Temporary Stedelijk intentionally referenced the museumís graphic tradition and the work of Wim Crouwel in particular. In creating a visual identity for the new Stedelijk, our aim was to design an invigorated, instantly recognizable house style ñ something fresh and contemporary that looks towards the future, but is rooted in the museumís rich tradition. The Stedelijk needs a visual identity that reflects its personality: an open and thought-provoking institution that offers space for a broad spectrum of artistic expression and wishes to share that space with the public. We wanted to see this character and spirit of adventure reflected in the Stedelijk house style. This prompted us to build in sufficient room to consider each assignment individually, so that constantly changing content can be presented with no loss of visual identity. So in one sense, itís a tightly constructed house style, yet still very open and fluid.”
A striking element of the duoís design is the new S-shaped logo. Constituted by the name ìStedelijk Museum Amsterdam in capital letters, the logo represents the museum in a clear typographic hallmark, incorporating the full name of the institution in a compact, distinct sign. The font used is Union, a typeface designed in 2009 by Czech-born Radim Peöko, who lives in the Netherlands.
Apart from the logo, a new template system will be another recurrent device; the layout juxtaposes columns of type with the name of the museum, providing a flexible structure for the museumís communications. Mevis & Van Deursenís strategic use of lines, framing and deletions draws from the boundaries and parameters that define the spaces within which art is presented, and finds its inspiration in the work of such artists as Mel Bochner and David Lamelas.
As the new Stedelijk identity enters its final development stage, the duoís design will focus on versatility, ensuring room to experiment with the presentation of changing content. As the reopening in September approaches, the museum will gradually unveil its new visual identity in full. In addition to the new website, new designs for the museumís newsletters, stationery, posters, publications and other applications will be implemented in the coming weeks.
MEVIS & VAN DEURSEN
Mevis & Van Deursen is highly acclaimed internationally as one of the most inventive design bureaus in the Netherlands. Upon graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen established the graphic-design agency in 1986. They have developed visual identities for clients ranging from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2003-2007), Dutch fashion designers Viktor & Rolf, International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (2009), Architecture Biennale in Venice (2010), Muziektheater Amsterdam and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. In 2010, Mevis & Van Deursen created the visual identity for the Stedelijk Museumís Temporary Stedelijk program (2010-12). They have also designed a number of publications for artists, designers and architects like Rineke Dijkstra, Aernout Mik, Alexander van Slobbe, Marijke van Warmerdam, Carlos Amorales, Sanja Ivekovic and SANAA Architects, among others. Other recent clients include the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Guggenheim Museum, both in New York.
Their design has been widely exhibited and recognized with awards internationally, including as winners of the branding competition for Rotterdam Cultural Capital (2001), the Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst (2009) and the Grand Prix of the Brno Biennale of the Czech Republic (for their visual identity for the Temporary Stedelijk, 2012).
GRAPHIC DESIGN AT THE STEDELIJK MUSEUM
Since its foundation in 1895, the Stedelijk Museum has had a rich graphic-design tradition and is an influential patron of the graphic arts. One of the most influential periods came after 1945 during the tenure of Willem Sandberg, typographer and Stedelijk director, who was celebrated for his experimental graphic design. The museum was eager to work with designers who were familiar with the museumís collection, history and graphic heritage. Mevis & Van Deursen continue this same tradition, walking in the footsteps of graphic designer Wim Crouwel, who shaped the identity of the Stedelijk from the 1970s to 80s.