Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Brand Identity, Signage & Environmental Graphics, Digital Design, Naming

Identity, website, and wayfinding design for the expanded New York institution.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum reopened in 2014 following a three-year renovation that restored the historic Andrew Carnegie Mansion and increased the museum’s exhibition space by 60 percent. Pentagram collaborated on the graphics for the revitalized institution, including a bold new graphic identity, website, signage, wayfinding and exhibition graphics.

The designers developed a vibrant and contemporary signage and environmental graphics program for the mansion’s exterior and interior. The program includes the exterior identity, exhibition directories, wayfinding and donor recognition graphics. 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.

The revitalization of the museum includes a major expansion and renovation developed in collaboration by Gluckman Mayner Architects and executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle, with Diller Scofidio + Renfro designing the casework and the initial configuration of the movable display cases for the exhibitions in the first and second floor galleries, the new visitor services desk, the new SHOP Cooper Hewitt and the new 90th Street entrance canopy. Local Projects focused on the design and production of the interactive media experiences.

Pentagram also designed an identity system for Cooper Hewitt. The designers' customized characters for the wordmark have been fully developed into a new typeface, Cooper Hewitt, created by Chester Jenkins of Village in collaboration with Pentagram. The typeface is used throughout the museum’s graphics and is also available free to the public, who are encouraged to utilize it in their own designs. To date, the typeface has been downloaded over 9,000 times. (Read more about the development of the Cooper Hewitt identity here.)

Pentagram also collaborated with Cooper Hewitt on the design of the website, publications and exhibition graphics, and developed an innovative new labeling system that utilizes a revolutionary interactive Pen for a unique visitor experience. 

New York
Eddie Opara
Michael Gericke
Project team
Don Bilodeau
Elizabeth Kim
Jed Skillins
Qian Sun
Jessie Wu
Beth Gotham
Amy Boyd
Kelsey Carter
Frank LaRocca
Brankica Harvey
Yo-E Ryou
Pedro Mendes
Carrie Brody
Ken Deegan
Chester Jenkins, type designer
Ann Sunwoo
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