Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

Dutch graphics studio Experimental Jetset has redesigned the logo for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as a slender W that changes shape to respond to its setting (+ movie).

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

Experimental Jetset developed the graphic identity around the concept of a "responsive W" that forms both a symbol of the Whitney and a framework for accompanying text and images.

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

"We came up with the idea of the zig-zag line, with the zig-zag being a metaphor for a non-simplistic, more complicated (and thus more interesting) history of art," say the designers.

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

"We think the line also represents a pulse, a beat - the heartbeat of New York, of the USA. It shows the Whitney as an institute that is breathing (in and out), an institute that is open and closed at the same time."

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

The designers specified Neue Haas Grotesk - a redrawn version of a 1950s Swiss typeface - for any text positioned alongside the logo, while any images can be positioned underneath.

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

"We began to explore the possibilities of the W as a frame to put work in, or a stage to place work on," they explain. "The lines [of the W] can be seen as borders, arrows, connections [or] columns."

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

The new graphic identity replaces the Whitney's thirteen-year-old logo, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram, and marks a period of change that will see the museum relocate to a new building by architect Renzo Piano, set to open in 2015.

Whitney Graphic Identity by Experimental Jetset

Other logos designed in recent months include one for the estate of Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson and one for Nivea designed by Yves Béhar. See more graphic design on Dezeen.

Photography is by Jens Mortensen.

Read on more information from the Whitney:


As the Whitney approaches the opening of its new building in 2015, museum staff are taking stock of all aspects of programming and operations. While much of this work is happening behind the scenes, one very visible aspect of this focus is the Whitney's graphic identity. While the museum has changed considerably in the thirteen years since it introduced the word mark designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram, even more extensive institutional changes will come with the move downtown.

Two years ago, Museum staff began a thoughtful internal dialogue regarding the Whitney's graphic identity and selected the design studio Experimental Jetset to develop an approach which embraces the spirit of the Museum while serving as a visual ambassador for our new building. The result is a distinctive and inventive graphic system that literally responds to art — a fundamental attribute of the Whitney since its founding in 1930. This dynamic identity, which the designers refer to as the "responsive 'W'" also illustrates the Museum's ever-changing nature. In the upcoming years it will provide an important point of continuity for members, visitors, and the public during the transition to the new space.