In a country steeped in rich visual traditions, many of which are living, our engagement with the arts in museums is surprisingly low.
While artistic expression is interwoven into the Indian fabric, museums tend to be formal, even inaccessible institutions, which seldom engage actively with their visitors. The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) aims to change this and redefine the museum-going experience.
MAP is a new museum in the heart of Bengaluru, with a large and varied collection of art, photography, textiles and design, predominantly from the Indian subcontinent.
By retracing and mapping relationships between different artistic disciplines, it breaks away from older schools of categorisation. MAP hopes to trigger new interpretations, activate conversations and engage with the city. One of its most ambitious projects is the launch of a free, online encyclopaedia of South Asian art – the first of its kind.
Another interesting feature is the museum’s sharp digital focus, which seeks to break physical constraints and provide more immersive experiences.
The MAP Brand Identity
The MAP brand identity has been created by Tsk Design. Founder Tania Singh Khosla says that their design strategy was inspired by the museum’s cross-disciplinary, curatorial approach.
The MAP identity is built on four pillars:
- Open: Making art accessible to a wider audience
- Vibrant: A multi-disciplinary approach to curating and presenting work
- Knowledgeable: An important resource for conservation and research in the arts
- Contextual: A museum that is reflective of its context – Indian and contemporary
The Logo & Brand Language
MAP’s logo is a six-sided ‘M’ built on a hexagonal grid, each side representing the museum’s collection across six disciplines – Living Traditions, Modern & Contemporary Art, Photography, Popular Culture, Pre-Modern Art, Textiles Craft & Design.
The simplicity of the mark makes it both memorable and highly adaptive. Says Team Tsk “Just as MAP creates new connections between works, the six-sided ‘M’ redraws itself on the grid – with crisscrossing lines forming a versatile widget language that is open to interpretation.”
The Colour Palette
Despite its playfulness, the identity resonates with a certain international ‘norm’ in contemporary museum branding. MAP’s brand palette, however, is where its Indian context shines through.
What exactly is Indian? Khosla says that given the country’s diverse visual culture, pinning down one aesthetic would be narrow. A common aesthetic thread, however, is an unrestrained and intuitive use of colour which has deep cultural connects. MAP’s vibrant colour palette is India- inspired and its brand colours are gulabi, aamras, baingani, ferozi, sharbati and kaal.
“Colours in India have deep cultural connects and are much more than an exact hueTania Singh Khosla, Founder + Creative Director, Tsk Design
or shade. ‘Sharbati’ is that undefinable combination of red and pink, the chilled
bottle of sweet concentrate on the ‘juicewallah’s’ cart on a hot summer day. How do you capture that in Pantone 405?”
MAP’s primary house font is the crisp and contemporary sans serif, Geometria. This is combined with Leitura News, a more formal, elegant serif font, as the secondary style.
Spanning Physical &Digital
Given MAP’s emphasis on technology to engage with a wider audience, it was critical that the identity should be equally effective in a digital and physical space.
The stamp-like mark is easily replicable, with or without widgets, across media. It moves seamlessly between stencilled graffiti on the façade of the building by street artist, Marco Santini, to an opening animation in a film, or branded merchandise in the museum store.
MAP founder Abhishek Poddar says that the easy-to-recognise brand identity reflects the museum’s approachable personality. “At the same time,” he says, “it has the ability to transform, surprise and reinvent – much like MAP itself.”