Rebranding an iconic city museum organization

Tartu City History Museums, established in 1955 is the umbrella organization for five museums: Tartu City Museum, Song Celebration Museum, KGB Cells Museum, Oskar Luts House Museum, and 19th Century Citizen's Museum. Together, the museums uniquely tell the story of Tartu focussing solely on the city and its progress throughout history.

Homne stepped in to revamp and rethink the (visual) brand of the museums. I was in the role of leading the design, but also contributed to strategy. An exciting opportunity and a great challenge at the same time!

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How to visualize a museum's organizational system?

Besides updating the aged visual identity, the main goal of the rebranding was to help communicate that each museum belongs to one system.

Previously, there was no coherent visual language to help achieve that. For this, developing a single brand mark that can embody the nature of the museums is definitely a daring task. After all, each museum tells a different part of the history of Tartu.

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Combining the two: location and Tartu

The creative concept started to develop already during conversations with the people of the museums.

What makes all of the five museums unique is not only the story but the location as well. Each building has a rich and novel history, a story to tell. At the same time, the underlying motif is always Tartu. Then, the question remained: how to translate words to visuals?

A coherent, yet individual visual language and design system

The reimagined visual identity is a confident step in a modern direction. Combining the ideas of location and Tartu, the logomark is quite literally a merge between the two. The shape derives from a location pin icon, made out of many letters T symbolizing Tartu.

The organization uses the logomark in front, but the museums at the end of the name indicating belonging and acting as a label of quality. In addition to a uniform layout system, this solution plays a decisive role in brand communication. A new colour palette introduces custom colours for each member of the brand to maintain personality.

Overall, the visual language is clean, modern, and finds a balance between boldness and seriousness.

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Ready for the visitors!

Tartu City History Museums now live and breathe under a distinctive and unified visual identity. Although the new brand launched in uncertain times in 2020 due to the pandemic, the museums are well prepared for the upcoming years. Nevertheless, a recognizable visual is already noticeable in the cityscape!

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The client said that …

"Our cooperation with Homne was excellent! From the very beginning, we felt that – being Tartuvians themselves – they were interested in understanding our challenges as an organization. All-round mapping of expectations and desires helped achieve a fantastic result. Furthermore, the creative process helped us understand that we need to go beyond visuals and think about a new trademark. From now on, the five museums reflecting the story of the city of Tartu all have the common denominator Tartu City History Museums."

Kert Kask
Tartu City History Museums
Marketing and Communications Specialist

Me & Them

Agency: Homne Agentuur
Role: Design Lead, Strategy
Together with: Mikko Leo Selg

Photography: Mikko Leo Selg

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© Jakob Päll 2021