New NGA logo

New NGA logo
New NGA logo

Opening the mail the other day, an invitation for the opening of the extensions for the National Gallery of Australia sparked my immediate interest but what jumped out most was that they had a NEW LOGO! Finally, a move away from Helvetica!! But was this new logo any better than their previous? Well, first impressions were that it was ok but with a few concerns so I thought I’d leave it a few days to let it digest. And my conclusion is still the same: a nice move but I don’t think it’s been resolved completely; it needed a bit more work. Apparently there are online mumblings about the fact that an ad agency instead of a branding agency did it but I do wish they had at least consulted a typographer for the use of those arrow A’s: too many, too skinny. I’m sure the apex should be slightly above the the other letters to counterbalance the weighty bottoms. The texture of the whole text part is thin, thick, thin, thick, etc which makes it look unbalanced and jumpy. I can see they were trying to echo the triangular shape but maybe this was just too difficult to resolve successfully. As for the square “N”, the round “G” and the triangular “A”, I don’t think people are getting it but I thought it was clever although the balance in this was also a bit wrong: the square should be slightly smaller, the circle slightly bigger. And as for the colours, well they look sophisticated and something a bit warmer than the graphic black of the old logo.

NGA old logo
NGA old logo

But really, when it comes down to it it doesn’t compare with the professional look of the previous logo, sorry. Maybe it’s just the Helvetica. There’s a reason why so many designers revert to it – because it just works. It’s perfect, like a classical Greek statue. True, that means it doesn’t have much of a soul but that’s why we use humanist typefaces instead.

On the whole, nice try but keep working on it.