Cooper Hewitt Unveils New Name, Identity, Typeface in Advance of December Reopening


The countdown to the revamped and revitalized version of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum begins now. At a press conference held this morning, director Caroline Baumann detailed plans for the reopening, set for December 12th, along with a wave of changes that debut today on the museum’s new website, a WordPress-powered affair created in collaboration with Pentagram and Matcha Labs.

The first thing to notice is the 117-year-old institution’s new name—Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum—which dispenses with the hyphen and the “national” of old. There’s a bold new Eddie Opara-designed identity to match, with an eminently scalable wordmark that forms a perfect rectangle. “Cooper Hewitt’s new identity is straightforward with no play on visual or theoretical complexity, no puzzling contradiction or ambiguity, no distracting authorship,” says Opara [cut to the Whitney’s neurasthenic W, cowering in the corner of a billboard]. “Function is its primary goal.” As for that non-nonsense sans serif, it’s the work of Chester Jenkins of Brooklyn-based Village. It’s available as a free download here.

Stay tuned to UnBeige throughout the months as we take a closer look at what’s in store for Cooper Hewitt. In the meantime, here are three things to start looking forward to immediately:
★ The new museum, housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue, will have 60% more gallery space.
★ Among the opening exhibitions is “Maira Kalman Selects,” which will fill the former first-floor Music Room of the Carnegie Mansion with “stuff…wait, don’t call it stuff” selected by Kalman from the museum’s collection, including Abraham Lincoln‘s pocket watch and Arturo Toscanini‘s pants (the latter on loan from Kalman).
★ As part of the new Cooper Hewitt museum experience, each visitor will receive a newly developed interactive pen that can be used “to digitally collect design objects on view, as well as additional objects from the ultra-high-definition interactive tables.”

Recommended articles