New visual identity for the Museum of Ethnography

The Museum of Ethnography in 2022 will move to a new building - a place worthy of its mission, the complexity and size of its collection, and its role in ethnography, at the gateway of City Park Budapest. The Museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding: it crosses one of the most important milestones in its history while looking back on its rich history. Renewal, symbiosis with the present, and the vibrant and colourful layers of the past heritage are all reflected in the new visual identity.

As one of Europe's earliest ethnographic museums, the Museum of Ethnography has been collecting, archiving, preserving, researching and disseminating the traditional and modern cultural relics of communities in Hungary, Europe and beyond since 1872. The institution is a collection of objects, images, texts, sounds and ideas, a rich and varied source of knowledge about the world, a forum for dialogue between cultures and generations. This identity and approach is perfectly reflected in the museum's new visual identity.

The museum's new visual image aimed to create a brand identity that would fit in with the cultural diversity of ethnography and reflect the diverse motifs of the Hungarian and international collections of the institution. An essential aspect of the renewal was that the new identity should be able to stand its ground in the digital environment of the present and the future and to represent the institution on an international stage.

The logo's pattern system merges the four cardinal points into a single visual symbol, referring to the institution's diverse collection spanning all continents, and the museum's openness. The emblem reflects the institution's past logo through its circular shape and visual richness, but in this case, it is a composite mark created from three different symbols. The emblem can be responsively used in three different scales giving the same visual impression across different media. The reduced size version is designed to be used for small surfaces, the medium for general use and the large for bigger surfaces, mainly for decorative ones. 

The Approach font family chosen for the institute has a neutral, timeless character that complements the distinctive visual appearance of the logo and the identity. The basic identity can be used in monochrome black and white, or the emblem complemented with red. On the various communication platforms, a more complex range of colours related to ethnography is available to create more dynamic, varied and eye-catching content. Four basic elements extracted from the pattern of the logo can be used to create a set of patterns that can be easily varied to ensure the recognition of the institution’s visual identity on different communication platforms.

The museum chose an unusual solution during design process. A design and logo competition brought several designers to the attention of the museum. In the end, he decided to invite five designers to work together and think alongside the museum's staff. Nóra Demeczky and Enikő Dér from DE_FORM Studio, Hunor Kátay, Szilárd Kovács and Sebestyén Németh from Explicit Studio accepted to participate in a creative process based on constant dialogue.

The Museum of Ethnography's visual image renewal is already pointing towards its reopening. In spring 2022, the temporary exhibition "Megérkeztünk" („We have arrived”) will open on more than 1000 square metres. Also for the spring opening, the interactive museum pedagogical and educational unit called MÉTA, will be completed, with a surface of over 500 square metres. From next spring the public will have access to the ZOOM space of over 500 square metres, where the main focus will be on the visual rather than the interpretation of the collections. The new building will also feature a grand Ceramics Space, 40-40 metres long and several metres high on both sides of the main staircase, with 3,000 works of art on display, which will be permanently open to the public free of charge. All this will be followed gradually by the opening of a youth exhibition and the permanent exhibition of the collection, as well as a museum library and archives. A cinema room close to the exhibitions will make the archive film collection more accessible.