Echoing youth and creativity, Forever Young is a "rebellious" museum identity that flouts the four white walls

Designed by in collaboration with Nam Huynh, the team mustered up a considered and playful persona for The Museum Brandhorst’s tenth anniversary.

17 July 2020

“The museum turned ten years-old, which isn’t very old for a well-established art institution,” says Nam Huynh, who was asked to join forces with in designing the anniversary identity for The Museum Brandhorst in Munich. Celebrating a decade since launching, the museum is widely acclaimed for its contemporary art collections, including Europe’s largest Andy Warhol collection and the world’s largest selection of Cy Twombly works. It’s surprising that a museum so young is so well established, which is precisely the question raised in the brief to design its new identity.

“So, we first created this young, vivid and rebellious persona and then tried to visualise one personal quality after another,” Nam, a Stuttgart-based designer, tells It’s Nice That. “After our presentation we expected that we went too far, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to hear about the museum’s approval.”

Titled Forever Young, the project is divided into key visuals with ‘Forever’ and ‘Young’ showcased as two separate entities. Comprising a contemporary design aesthetic, the words are juxtaposed with the museum’s key works from the collection. “In other words,” continues Nam, “pop culture juxtaposed with pop art” – used with an aim to show how the nature of popular art has been in a continuous evolution. Aiding the development of the design was, a Munich and Zurich-based studio founded by Jonas Beuchert, Tilman Schlevogt and Jan Steinbach. Its founders also studied at the Stuttgart Art Academy alongside Nam, Mark Bohle, Tillack-Knoell, Kati Szylagyi and Bureau Progressiv, before launching on their own and publishing works such as Edition Taube, as well as creating identities and visual communication across digital and physical spaces – all of which span the cultural and advertising sectors. and Nam Huynh: Forever Young, The Museum Brandhorst

When briefed to design the identity for Museum Brandhorst’s anniversary, Jonas explains that it “was not easy”. He adds: “On the one hand, it is among the most established institutions for contemporary art in Europe… On the other hand, what are ten years for a museum?” As such, the museum sought out both answers, and strove to address both young audiences that are unlikely to visit a museum’s anniversary event, but wanted to make it relevant for the event and art world too. “We challenged them to do something kind of wild that will raise attention,” he continues. “We are super happy that chief curator Patrizia Dander and her team love crazy typography just as we do.”

While piecing together the complimentary yet contrasting visuals, the team wanted to challenge the museum to produce something fresh. Starting with themselves, and by inviting Nam to join the team, the collaboration arose and they began work on the title. “We found it appropriate, yes,” adds Tilman of the title’s conception, “but also a little bromidic.” Deciding to split the words, they moved forward with an opposition that was then paired with key pieces of the collection. “Together we made dozens of typographic sketches and then realised we really wanted to go to where it gets slippery and created type designs with ambitious connotations,” says Jan. “Is it a video game? A candy bar? A movie title? A new brand?”

The answer is simple – it could be all of the above. This is because the identity pulls major references form pop culture, advertising and consumer goods, so to bring all of these aesthetics together is like coining a new-age kind of pop art and aesthetic, intwined with artworks by Warhol, Koons, Seth Price and Basquiat – “we’ve proven that these artists are still fresh and ‘young’”. Next, once the visual language “boiled down”, they began rolling out the billboards, animations, face filter and merchandise.

Reflecting back, Nam notes how joyous it was to work on the display typefaces. “Each typeface was designed as a fitting component to a specific exhibited artist,” he says. “Together as an ensemble, all the typefaces turn into integral pieces of an odd but bold visual identity.” Then, working largely on the layout system, Nam was exceptionally excited when the designs first appeared around the city, “from subway stations to big billboards and advertising pillars. Together with the project management of the museum’s curatorial department, we even managed to convince a neighbour to use his balcony and project an animated version of the iconic ceramic facade of the museum.” Just a mere example of how effective a juxtaposing, and multi-medium identity can really be. The Forever Young identity is a fun and playful adaptation of the traditional four white walls, and one that certainly echoes with youth and creativity. and Nam Huynh: Forever Young, The Museum Brandhorst

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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