I was recently invited to become a regular contributor to Color Objects, a site out of the Netherlands that is devoted entirely to the aesthetics and application of colour. As a monthly contributor, I'll be writing about how colours are presented to us, through media, corporate logos and visual identities we encounter every day.
My first piece was published this morning. It's on the Rio 2016 Olympic logo, and how the colours specified for it effectively communicate a story of the people hosting the games, beyond the mere 'green, yellow and blue' that was stipulated by the Brazilian government. Stay tuned for more on Color Objects.
Here's the article.
So I think that new ROM logo is a big fat disappointment. There, I said it. And yes, I feel better. I don't know what were they thinking. Those letter forms are mere days old and they already feel dated, not airy and chance-taking like the new crystal did when it was built. This logo is heavy; it's safe without the ageless sensibility of something that is purely functional. It's like the black wedgy shoes with the laces on the side that the matronly Grade 6 teacher, Miss Mather wore at my public school in 1984.
And then there's the purple. Come on. According to the article I read, the ROM wanted a colour associated with things that are precious and rare. There are a dozen more successful purples they could have selected for this purpose. Something deeper, darker, edgier; something with depth; more mysterious and gauzy; maybe leaning toward a plum, or a claret. The list could go on. Instead, the flat colour they chose feels a bit thin and common, like the bedroom walls of an artsy teen girl. An American design firm created this identity. I do believe a Canadian group would have been better equipped to specify a more appropriate colour choice here.
Like thousands of 10-year-old kids, I went to the ROM on school trips. It felt so special to ride two hours on a bus to Toronto, and then to enter in the group door off of Queen's Park, to where all of those big coat racks were for kids, and where we'd get our little tin badges with the logo to wear. Walking toward the exhibitions, the first piece we'd always see would be the base of that giant totem pole placed beside the large interior stair. It was familiar and special and for such a public place, very personal to me. This was big city life to a 10-year-old from London, Ontario. I guess that's why it's hard to see an interpretation so off the mark from what I believe about this place. I guess I should start looking for positions on advisory boards of everywhere I ever took a field trip.