San Diego Museum Identity Is Happening

MCASD Logo Can Occupy and Activate Space

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has unveiled a new branding campaign designed by Happening Studio of Tokyo/Los Angeles. The launch coincides with the reopening of its La Jolla flagship location this Spring, which has undergone a $105 million renovation and expansion by Selldorf Architects, and is the first time the Museum’s logo has been redesigned in 15 years.



Karen and Masato Nakada, partners at the studio, comment: “We proposed an identity system that can morph and adapt to its given space, medium, and environment. Instead of thinking about one color and one typeface to own as an institution, we proposed colorways as sets and superfamily fonts (serif, sans, extended, condensed), allowing the museum to have a diverse range of “voice” for various events and exhibitions but still be cohesive and institutional.” The new system utilizes fluidity and flexibility. The identity can shift its brand voice from brand-forward to content-forward. It can be a quiet, invisible container showcasing exhibition content or it can have a louder institutional brand voice to address public messages, important updates, and awareness with consistency.”



One of the highlighted features of the logo is the ability to occupy and activate its entire space. The letters M, C, A can increase or decrease their letter spacing. The identity is responsive and customizable to unique scales and applications for both print, digital and 3D spaces. The fluidity of the the “in-between” spaces is an homage to the Selldorf expansion, aiming to draw a relationship of architectural space and people.


Says Kathryn Kanjo, David C. Copley Director and CEO: “Our new graphic identity by Happening Studio echoes the openness of our new building reflecting our mission to create a space where everyone is welcome, and continuing our commitment to providing bilingual English/Spanish exhibition text to better serve our growing bi-national audience.”