Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced a new name and graphic identity, along with a custom typeface and a new website to accompany the expansion of the museum, which opened to the public on December 12, 2014. Designed by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team, the new identity established a flexible branding system for the museum. Opara’s customized characters for the wordmark have been fully developed into a new typeface, Cooper Hewitt.
Pentagram partner Michael Gericke and his team developed a vibrant and contemporary signage and environmental graphics program for the mansion. The Andrew Carnegie Mansion is a historic landmark and cannot be physically altered, so the team found ways to creatively integrate the signage into the building in an impactful but non-intrusive way. Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed an extruded sign / canopy for the museum’s 90th Street entrance. The canopy passes through the landmarked fence without touching it, and gestures towards pedestrians on Fifth Avenue.
Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann made the audacious decision to make this typeface freely available to all via download. She writes: “We are spreading good design by making our elegant new typeface, Cooper Hewitt, available as a free download, as well as collecting it as an important example of the design process.”