Branding & Design Analysis: Crocker Art Museum

Have you ever been enjoying a much-anticipated fancy dinner somewhere like Mulvaney’s B&L or Ella, enjoying your amuse bouche, sipping an aperitif, digging the vibe around you to suddenly have the spell broken by a too-rockin’ song or a lipstick-stained water-glass? I have and it hurts me to be yanked out of my happy time.

A well made immersive experience incorporates the brand so holistically, so carefully and consciously, that it’s unnoticeable (until it’s broken). Great examples of this are Starbucks and Disneyland where every detail is crafted with a branded look and feel in mind from the signs to the cups to the seats and the plants.

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Crocker Art Museum has a lovely brand, created by METStrategies and applied over the years by designers Mark Hebert, Brian Suhr, and others. The brand uses the Futura font in blues and greys with some bright accent colors, lovingly carried through in the ArtLetter magazine, website, and physical signage. I’ve gleaned this from what I can see and research (but I’d love to learn more about their branding strategy or brand persona employed to keep all contributors “on-brand” for tone, voice, and imagery). I see a few opportunities for improvement.

Suggestions to Boost the Brand

    • Expand What’s Here. There are some really nice visual effects used in the website, like the text/headline overlay on images, circles of images, and blocks of image+text pairings. existingThese elements might bring a nice freshness to the Artletter magazine which is more subdued. The magazine also has lovely section tabs that may provide more effective way-finding with varied placement or color.
    • Crocker in the Community. I sense a push for Crocker to be a brighter voice in our city’s exciting renaissance as seen in programs like Block by Block, ArtMIX, the Art Arc, and the planning for the new Crocker Park. These public and civic art partnerships are under-represented in the print publications, social media, and website.

  • Consolidate Announcements. Although new exhibitions and events are prominent on the site creating a blog would keep the public up to date on current happenings, reactions, news in the community, grant awards, and partnerships. Social sharing could be improved (through open graph meta data) and automated with a tool like IFTTT.
  • labeled-MockupAll Roads Lead Back. When posting images to social media add a bar with artist name, title, year, Crocker logo and context note (permanent collection, event, comment) so users can trace back these images to the source as they get shared, reposted and repinned.
  • Embrace the Interwebs. There are opportunities for additional outreach online through venues like Tumblr or Medium as well as streamlining what’s already working.  These efforts will enhance relationships with existing followers and bring in new audiences who are fluent online but how can Crocker Art expand reach to underserved audiences? Without data on those underserved populations I can’t provide too many suggestions.

Crocker is doing a lot of things really well, I’ve enjoyed every interaction I’ve had with them on site and off. I’ve highlighted what I might do given my limited knowledge of their inner workings. My hope is to get the attention of leadership at Crocker Art Museum, specifically Christine Calvin — I want to work with you! Please review my resume and contact me to discuss how I can apply my skills and passion for art to Crocker Art Museum.