Posts Tagged ‘The Metropolitan Museum of Art’

Get THE MET?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The Met’s new logo has inspired divergent criticism from the art and design press. It’s a “graphic misfire,” writes Vulture, while WIRED explains how its ligatures create “a metaphorical moment.” The capital E’s “look like butts,” quips GQ.

To build our own informed opinion of the logo, we sought answers from Ilene Strizver, a longtime SVACE faculty member who teaches Gourmet Typography.  She also writes TypeTalk, an ongoing and deeply informative blog for CreativePro.com. Ilene responded with some valuable insights. She writes:

The New Met Logo
Ilene Strizver | The Type Studio

The new Metropolitan Museum of Art logo has everyone talking – and it’s not all words of praise. The new logo is the work of global-branding firm Wolff Olins, scheduled to be unveiled on March 2016. This design is a rebranding, with a totally new look, feel, and concept compared to the previous logo. While there is certainly nothing wrong with rebranding a highly revered institution such as The Met, I’m not sure this one accomplishes what they set out to do.

Old and new logos for The Met

Old and new logos for The Met

At first glance, the connection the new logo has with the overly tight type treatments of the 60s and 70s was unmistakable. This style was first employed by Herb Lubalin, who started the whole tight type movement during the transition from metal to phototypesetting which made it possible to do things that were not viable with hot metal. Lubalin was known for his extremely tight spacing and type tailoring (as we called it then), where two or more characters were often blended into each other, creating a ligature of sorts. The new Met logo uses this technique to create extreme ligatures out of each of the three-letter words. Unfortunately it is overdone to the point where the ‘tricks’ catch the eye and take visual precedence over the meaning of the words and the great institution it represents, in effect reverting back to the “bellbottoms and tie-dye shirts” of typography of the 60s and 70s.

This cover of U&lc Vol 5, No 4 was designed by Herb Lubalin in 1978. It epitomizes the overly tight type that was the revered style of the 60s and 70s.

This cover of U&lc Vol 5, No 4 was designed by Herb Lubalin in 1978. It epitomizes the overly tight type that was the revered style of the 60s and 70s.

“Our new logo no longer relies on symbols and, instead, is based on our commonly used name ‘The Met,’ which has an immediacy that speaks to all audiences. It is an original drawing, a hybrid that combines and connects serif and sans serif, classical and modern letterforms. In this respect, it reflects the scope of the Museum’s collection and the inherent connections that exist within it.”

This statement by the museum explains that the hybrid forms are intended to symbolize the broad scope of the museum’s collection. Unfortunately the logo doesn’t ‘read’ that way. If the viewer needs an explanation in order to ‘get’ or understand a logo that is not easily recognizable, it is missing the point.

Both revising or rebranding a logo should take an identity in forward-moving direction, but this does not do that. It is a caricature of a style gone by, and does not accurately reflect the greatness and broad spectrum of the institution it is designed to represent. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for finessing and type tailoring typography to either draw attention to words or letterforms (having lovingly created many in my days working on U&lc), but going overboard with too many tricks makes the tricks the star attraction, not the word mark or the institution itself. If this logo consisted of these same letterforms without the ‘triple-ligaturization’ it might have been more successful in achieving the intended goal.

-Ilene Strizver

Faculty Updates

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from Steve Brodner, Peter Hristoff, and Nicolas Touron!

Steve Brodner wrote and illustrated Blowing Off the Grid, a story in Nautilus about Samsø, a carbon-neutral island in Denmark. See his story here.

Steve Brodner for Nautilus

Steve Brodner for Nautilus

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will discuss an object from the museum’s collection: a Prayer Rug with Niche Design.  Part of MetFridays, the event is free with museum admission.

Peter Hristoff of SVACE

Peter Hristoff of SVACE

In Paris? Galerie Detais opens a solo show by Nicolas Touron, who teaches “Sculpture” and “Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture” here at SVACE!

Nicolas Touron at Galerie Detais

Nicolas Touron at Galerie Detais

Congratulations to our faculty members! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Happy Halloween! Here are some spooky pics from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. How many can you identify?

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Seven Words

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, SVACE instructor Ofri Cnaani debuts Seven Words, a multimedia installation featuring original, live-mixed video!  The work combines the music of Haydn with prints from the Museum’s collection.  The artist writes:

Screen simulation of "Seven Words" by Ofri Cnaani

Seven Words formed into a piece about reading and writing—translating times and eras, languages and cultures—and the various toolboxes used to create and transform meanings. While the piece revolves around a moment of an extreme physicality, ecstasy, and final surrender, I was looking at more nuanced, metaphorical visual moments that capture the core idea of transformation and generate a conversation between those who write culture and their readers.”

This concert will be live-streamed from the Met’s website.