Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before: a museum that hops around from one city to the next, schlepping artifacts in a slick, Mercedes touring coach, like a band of well-heeled Merry Pranksters. It is the freshly announced Moscow Design Museum--“the first museum on a bus in the world,” according to its website. And it fell to Lava, a Dutch design studio, to give the museum a visual identity that could travel every bit as easily as the exhibits themselves.
Lava’s solution was to create a set of big, bold icons inspired by old Russian glass patterns. The idea is that the designs are so simple, they’ll look good anywhere, rendered by anyone. “The identity is only black and white and very easy to cheaply reproduce on various items like catalogs, posters, signs, invitations, and T-shirts,” Lava’s Hans Wolbers tells Co.Design. Think of it as the graphic-design equivalent of a wrinkle-free shirt. You can roll it up into a little ball, throw it into your suitcase, then pull it out a few days later, and it’ll appear just as spic and span as the day you bought it.
The other cool thing about this visual identity is that there’s tremendous variety built in. By drawing the icons on a triangular grid, you can generate tons of different shapes--stars, hexagons, diamonds, you name it--that still share a familial resemblance. That means you can customize the identity for each show and city, without sacrificing the museum’s essential look. Pretty smart.
Read an interview with the designers at Fontanel.nl (translated from Dutch).
[Images courtesy of Lava]