The MSU Museum team acknowledged they had a problem with awareness. Even among those in the know, it was often referred to as “the dinosaur museum” as a way of differentiating it from its campus neighbor, The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Day-to-day operations involved curation, community outreach, collaboration with other collecting institutions and stewardship of over 1 million artifacts. Defining purpose, however, needed to be broader and more aspirational.
How Do You Create the New Platform for a Whole New Kind of Museum?
Behind the Idea
Through stakeholder interviews, we uncovered that the diversity of talent and the spirit of collaboration were strengths that ignited projects. Inspired, our strategy team and Museum stakeholders aligned around the brand idea: Catalyze Creativity. This is where Museum staff would have the most impact—reaching out to faculty, students and other museums to innovate, solve problems and create something better in our world.
The MSU Museum Brand Idea
To cause or accelerate. To make something start happening or start being successful. To make it active.
To make something new, unique and refreshing.
The MSU Museum is an innovative and experimental collaboratory that exists to catalyze creativity. A space where people can openly explore, express and experiment with ideas across disciplines and interests, and indulge their natural curiosity about the world.
Our team found the synergy within the name Museum itself. Neatly tucked into the word, MSU stood tall and powerfully, giving the museum the instant credibility it needed as it navigated a new realm as a “collaborative museum.”
The basis of the name allows for a succinct read and display.
The alternating pattern of upper-and lower-case letters creates a lively and memorable compositional rhythm.
The parent university's initials “MSU” are recognized by their uppercase setting and dark, Spartan Green color.
A New Platform
To be successful, it was essential for our team to incorporate the new collaborative nature of the museum across MSU Museum's entire identity. This new 21st century interdisciplinary museum needed to make every area—arts and sciences, technology and humanities—a dynamic, engaging and interactive experience. From exhibits to research, this was to be a museum that invited dialogue and discussion by creating a platform to advance conversations to solutions and actions.
Designed to rally the internal team as they embarked on who they are now and going forward.
We are the MSU Museum:
A Creative Collaboratory.
We really can change the world.
Verbal + Visual Identity
To ensure alignment and consistency, we developed a brand book to guide the staff in their new roles as collaborators, empowering them to realize the full potential of their reinvented place of work. Reinforcing a key pillar, we designed each page to be thought-provoking, encouraging stakeholders to be bold in their application of the brand.
Our team delivered an identity guide to inspire and manage all verbal and visual expressions for MSU Museum. Designed as a springboard for their marketing and communications efforts, the guide provides the range of sample applications necessary to live the brand across digital and analogue channels.
“Our timeline was aggressive as we sought to quickly catalyze our plans and begin resonating in new ways with our audiences. BasedOn worked professionally, diligently and collaboratively to craft an effective brand identity, mark and strategy. We're thrilled with the results.” Devon Akmon
Director of the MSU Museum
and CoLab Studio
This was a 360° identity challenge that brought a 115-year-old museum into the modern age, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a museum today. From pondering the big questions to suggesting little things each of us can do to make the world a better place, the MSU Museum is forcing us to reimagine the role of museums in our dynamic, changing society and world.