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A Museum Devoted To War Tackles Its Own Fractured Identity

Here in the U.S., we’ve made a hobby out of reenacting decisive Civil War battles; in the U.K., they’ve erected not one but five museums devoted to the study of conflict–since World War I alone. Actually, all five are part of a single entity, the Imperial War Museum, but since they’re scattered around the country, visitors didn’t perceive them as parts of a whole.

That’s beginning to change with the help of the London-based creative agency Hat-Trick, which, along with branding strategists Jane Wentworth Associates, has collected all the locations under a single acronym: IWM, to stand for Imperial War Museums. According to Hat-Trick: “Audience research showed that while there is a general loyalty and warmth for IWM with high levels of visitor satisfaction, people sometimes find the Museum’s offer fragmented and are confused by mixed messages and a lack of consistency across the five museums.” In response, the studio developed a distinctive and flexible new logo of split blocks, which conveys the idea of separate but integral pieces while nodding to the fracturing effects of war itself.

IWM began rolling out its new identity in October for its London exhibition Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin. The brand will be fully embedded in time for IWM’s major commemorations to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014.

Let’s hope that one day, after the dust has settled in the Middle East (if it ever does) and the U.S. has pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, we, too, will dedicate a museum to offer insights into and reflections on our own recent conflicts.

[H/T to Creative Review]

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