Founded in 1899 as the world’s first children’s museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is New York City’s largest cultural institution designed especially for families, serving over 300,000 children and caregivers annually. Generations of Brooklynites know BCM by its mascot, a friendly green “robot chicken” with a propeller beak and a crest made of flowers. Originally created by Seymour Chwast for a promotional poster in 1977, the whimsical illustration evolved into something of a logo for the museum, appearing on its letterhead and other materials since the 1980s.
Almost five decades later, Pentagram partner Paula Scher, who happens to be married to Chwast, was commissioned to refresh BCM’s brand identity as part of a strategic master plan of improvements. The designer decided to use the chicken robot—which Chwast swears is really just a robot—as the basis for a complete institutional identity. With Chwast’s blessing, the Pentagram team redrew the character to make it more flexible for a variety of contexts, adding dimension and movement, and bringing it to life in digital animations.
The green chicken robot is joined by a flock in different colors that can be used as sub-brands for BCM’s various programs and initiatives, with the crests customized for assorted activities. The family of mascots will be featured on signage and environmental graphics at the museum, as well as merchandise, promotional campaigns and social media.