A couple of footnotes to the discussion on typography and museums.
- We were asked which museums do their graphic design best. Both Harry Pearce and I instinctively answered MoMA. I didn’t know, which I no doubt should have done, that the classic MoMA logotype was designed by Ivan Chermayeff in Franklin Gothic No 2 and launched in 1964, remaining fairly unchanged ever since, proof of its effectiveness. ‘The ideas that are quick, even instantaneous, are the best’, he said. ‘I sometimes have a great idea while the problem is still being described by the client. I have learned that the worst thing you can do is to put that idea forward immediately, because then it has no value’.
- I couldn’t remember who had designed the National Gallery’s logotype, which was in the process of being designed when I arrived in July 2002 and has survived pretty intact ever since. The answer, I think, is that it was done by Lee Hoddy, the then creative director of Bamber Forsyth. The font used – and which they still use – is (very appropriately) Bembo: conservative, but clear, legible and smart. We also put the definite article back, but asymetrically:-