Is The Met’s New Logo as Indisputably Wretched as Everyone Is Saying?

Mark is deemed 'Times New Rotten'

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has done away with the beautiful da Vinci-inspired logo it's used since 1971 in favor of … a double-stacked word mark made in kerning hell.

Vulture calls the update a "typographic bus crash," noting that "the whole ensemble looks like a red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other's backs. Worse, the entire top half of the new logo consists of the word 'the.'" 

Other commentators are referring to it as "Times New Rotten." Justin Davidson, the architecture critic for New York magazine, labeled it a "graphic misfire." And GQ—with its trained eye for the female rear—observed that there are two bikini-clad butts hiding in the negative space of the E's.

The new logo was created by London-based Wolff Olins. The Met defended the design in a statement: "It is an original drawing, a hybrid that combines and connects serif and sans serif, classical and modern letterforms. In this respect, it reflects the scope of the Museum's collection and the connections that exist within it." 

The statement went on: "There may be debate about the logo because it involves change, but the museum chose it because it represents something simple, bold, and indisputable: The Met is here for everyone." 

If everyone hated good kerning, we'd buy that.

Let's look at the old logo, drawn from a piece in the Met's own collection—a woodcut by Fra Luca Pacioli, the guy who taught math to Leonardo da Vinci. We don't think it's particularly noninclusive:

And let's examine that new, letter-killing, article-elevating, butt-filled logo again: 

As an additional response to the backlash, the Met released marketing collateral that shows how the logo will look in action:

Ugh. Tell us what you think in the comments.

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@rebeccacullers Rebecca Cullers is a contributor to Adweek.