World-famous story

Van Gogh is the most well known artist in the world. Even more famous than Picasso, Michelangelo or Rembrandt.

That’s why, when we were asked to create the new visual identity for the Van Gogh Museum, we panicked a bit. How can you create an image for a museum that is so strongly connected to the work of a single artist? We certainly needed to use the artist’s work, but how could we create something unique out of it, without making fools of ourselves?

Together with the curators from the museum, we investigated Van Gogh’s brushstrokes. Eventually, we concentrated on one brushstroke, from Het Korenveld (The Cornfield). We translated this into a graphic pattern: the footprint. Next, we chose four principle colours from two popular favourites: Zonnebloemen (Sunflowers) and Amandelbloesem (Almond blossom). We then selected eight supplementary colours from works from various periods. Once we had the footprint and the colour palette, a world of possibilities opened up to us.

To counterbalance the intensity of Van Gogh’s work, we chose a simple black and white logo. Almost Calvinistic. The square refers to Rietveld’s original museum design, and creates a powerful contrast, whereby it works perfectly as the sender of a message, without competing with the work.

Last but not least, we chose to use quotes from Vincent van Gogh as a personal note from the author. In same the year that the museum introduced the new identity, Van Gogh’s letters were also published. These were considered to be world-class literature, and provided a beautiful glimpse into his world and his overpowering need to create art that would stand the test of time.

Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum: ‘In this way, we broaden and deepen our story, and add new elements. This is how we pass on Van Gogh’s legacy to new generations, so that his inspiration lives on.’

Website: Corporate Design system applied by Fabrique.

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Van Gogh Museum Vrijdag