mao museo d'arte orientale

total identity study for an art museum in torino, bringing back consistency to its communication system. 2016

the museum of oriental art in torino is active since around 2008 and its visual identity is now mostly fragmented due to lots of studios working on it in the last years and the absence of a clear graphic standards manual.

the aim of this project was to systematize the existing communication system, trying to implement a restoration and a reorganization as much as possible instead of dismissing what has already been settled.

the standardization and codification of all the materials provides, in addition to the precise coding of all the already known materials, the ability to easily expand with consistency if needed.

the square and its geometric perfection was the starting point of the whole new identity, being not only an element of the pre-existing logo but a common theme in oriental art as well. grids, icons and some paper sizes heavily rely on the square to develop a consistent graphic architecture.

a new concept was introduced: the information bar. its structure is based on a grid of square modules and it’s used to clearly display useful information like the exhibition bar here showed. rotis by otl aicher is the only official typeface allowed, as it was already partially in use in previous material printed by the museum.

as typography is the fixed element in the whole identity, variation is ensured by the use of extremely powerful photography, which shows the real content of the museum in its untouched beauty.

posters: the left one shows an example of events organized by the museum itself, thus the symbol becomes more important, while the right one is dedicated to exhibitions held inside mao where the argument or the title are more important than the place.

temporary exhibitions need lots of advertising material, from posters in various sizes to small brochures and postcards. the manual contains detailed instructions that explain how to layout these objects.

color is an important aspect of temporary exhibitions. while red, white and gray are used for all the graphics related to the museum and permanent gallery, new colors are chosen for each event. the new pair is based on the main picture used to advertise the exhibition: one from the background and one from the brightest colors.

using the same background color of the main picture ensures the artworks showed always stand out. usually this translates to white typography on black, especially with photographed objects, but with paintings, carpets or illustrations the resulting pair becomes more interesting and easily recognizable.

the new brochure is a big step forward in reducing print costs, being 2/3 the width of the previous one and written in both italian and english languages.

grids are an extremely helpful tool, not only for layout purposes, but for functional reasons as well. for example the size of the modules in the letterhead is calculated so that the first horizontal line in the information bar suggests where to fold the paper to be inserted in the envelope.

for the catalog of the museum a modular approach is showed in the manual. each section of the gallery is built using standard layout modules: a spread with a map, a series of artworks, a poem, a paragraph explaining the cultural context. again, this leads to a flexible and easy to expand project.

an extremely clean and quiet layout is essential to display artworks in the most elegant and comprehensible way.
the manual also provides general rules for the setup of the internal signage, including wayfinding and artwork descriptions.