Pentagram’s Austin office, headed up by DJ Stout, has redesigned Nashville’s main art museum giving it a new name and brand identity. Formerly known as The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Pentagram worked with director Susan Edwards, her team and the Frist’s executive board to rename the institution as Frist Art Museum.
This new name was introduced as a snappier, more recognisable moniker which a catchy acronym “FAM”, reflecting the museum’s family-friendly atmosphere. Having played with options such as Nashville Museum of Art or Nashville Art Museum, Stout and his team opted for the above in order to keep the Frist name – a prominent Nashville family who is a major patron of the museum.
The museum’s previous identity, which was adopted in 2001, featured a mark that was a line drawing of one of the elaborate tiles found in the building – an Art Deco style, which was popular when the museum was built in 1934. In order to retain the significance of this Art Deco heritage, Pentagram created a logotype featuring the new moniker set in an upper and lowercase sans-serif typeface called Cádiz. Although injecting modernity into this logotype, the “s” in Frist resembles the Art Deco letter “s” of the original logo.
Reproduced in black, the “s” of the logotype is highlighted in red, in a nod to contemporary artist Donald Judd’s favourite colour. In an interview with John Coplans in 1971, Judd stated, “red, other than a grey of that value, seems to be the colour that makes an object sharp and defines its contours and angles.” This choice of colour, therefore, reflects the museum’s proclivity to feature contemporary art.
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