Brighton & Hove Museums: United with the ampersand

Formerly named Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove Museums is a governing body for six historic and artistic sites located in Southern England. Changing its name, this part of the Brighton & Hove Council has adopted a new visual identity focusing on the ampersand as a symbol of unity and inclusiveness.

Actually, the Brighton & Hove Museums branding project started from the update of the organization’s website. Baxter & Bailey, a local design studio that was commissioned for it, proposed to completely renovate the look of BHM with proper architecture and visual guidelines. As Brighton & Hove is the only city in the United Kingdom whose name includes the ampersand, the studio came up with the idea to make the sign the central element of the visual identity.

Moreover, the ampersand is designed in a stencil style, and its parts are painted in different colors in the main version of the logo. This symbolizes the six venues of BHM: Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Hove Museum and Art Gallery, Booth Museum of Natural History, Preston Manor, and the digital Discovery collection. Unlike the institution’s previous logo which depicted only the Royal Pavilion, the new branding pays equal tribute to all the sites.

The ampersand is also featured in other BHM graphic materials promoting different collections and exhibitions of the cultural organization. This set of visual elements, called Ampersand Expressions, will be displayed in the digital environment as well as in posters within the sites themselves.

When it comes to the whole color palette, which includes fifteen shades, the branding represents “complete flexibility”, according to Baxter & Bailey. Different combinations of the colors can be used to highlight each of the venues individually. In developing the color system, the designers were keeping in mind its possible legibility and accessibility to refer to the local architecture, locations, and people.

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