First opened in 1966 as a wing of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, now in its own building, is currently one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian Art, housing a collection of over 17,000 artworks. It was also one of the most financially troubled museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian Art with a $120 million debt, which was recently announced would be solved, setting the museum up for a much needed reinvention: “Our new brand,” explains Jay Xu, Director of the Asian Art Museum “promises to awaken the past and inspire the next. It means we’ll unlock the past for visitors and bring it to life by sparking connections. We’ll also be a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.” To help turn things around, literally, the Asian Art Museum worked with Wolff Olins to design its new identity.
International brand consultancy Wolff Olins helped to redefine the brand and designed a new logo to directly reflect the museum’s bold vision and new perspective. Its graphic, upside down A mark, accompanied by the word “Asian,” also communicates the museum’s desire to engage all: in mathematics, an upside down A denotes “for all.”
— Press Release
The old logo was a little painful to watch, but it had good intentions and it sort of exuded Asian-ness with the red color and wispy type; it had an interesting play with the Asia/n structure, but mostly it was just a little weird. The new one, in contrast, exudes not a single bit of Asian-ness. On the contrary, it could probably be a logo for anything but an Asian museum and that seems to help the point the Asian Art Museum is trying to make, that they are not just a warehouse of old Asian clichés but a new kind of platform for Asian art and culture, both old and new. Obviously the biggest statement of the logo is the upside down “A”. The press release mentions that in mathematics the inverted “A” represents “for all” and I wonder how many people will know that — I didn’t, but I also use a calculator to sum two plus two sometimes. When I first saw the logo I tried to extract the meaning of the inverted “A” but other than a slightly corny “Think Different” I came up empty. It’s a bold move, and it has the advantage that there are no other upside down logos out there, so it certainly stands out.
Like any logo thick enough to hold imagery, this one holds artifacts from the collection. It looks good, but it’s far from new. Good thing the holding shape is upside down to give the trick a new spin. I do like the subtle gradient that gives the logo some dimension.
The rest of the materials are decent and support the direction of the logo. I like how the logo can be used big or small in different applications, showing a bit of versatility that, if lacking, would have made for a more stale range of applications. Overall, as a way of saying “this ain’t your ancestors Asian Art Museum” this identity certainly achieves its goal.
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Shift Partners designed special edition condom packaging to celebrate opening of the 2010 Asian Games.
“Athletes at major sporting competitions are always under a lot of pressure. Thankfully, at The 16th Asian Games Guangzhou 2010, they will get a set of special edition condoms. We partnered with Jissbon, China’s largest condom brand, to create a memorable and unique set of products donated to the games. From the Super Moist Pleasure variant that ensures “FLAWLESS ENTRY” to the Super Firm Feel variant that helps our heroes “NOT PEAK TOO EARLY”, all of us at Shift. hope the entire range will help set some new world records.”
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Achieving homes with a minimal environmental impact seems to be the major architecture trend of the last years. For today, we bring you the Chuckanut Ridge House, a building designed by Prentiss Architects in Washington state. The architects respected the wishes of the clients, a large family with a strong East Asian heritage and culture, to develop a sustainable home: “The goal of minimal environmental impact and off the grid living led to, among other things, photovoltaic panels to provide the electrical power for the house and the collection of rain water as the water source“. Many people fear that the addition of solar panels might interact with the architecture design in a negative way. In this particular case, the panels are independent and we consider this to be an original alternative solution. Moreover, the floor to ceiling windows ensure good natural lighting throughout the day and transform some of the rooms (particularly the living and bedroom) into front row seats to the fascinating landscape outdoors.
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