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26 / 02 / 16

The Met – Meet the logo that has caused so much controversy

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met, for short – has just had its revered Vitruvian “M” logo redesigned. For a museum revered for its tradition and heritage, this is a huge step.  As Human Beings we have a tendency to be averse to change, It’s in our nature as creatures of habit. However, no one quite expected the reaction the new design would achieve.

Having gone by a single Letter first used in 1971, using a straightforward “M” surrounded by calligraphic swirls. The Met has decided to completely abandon this iconic branding in favour of a typographic logo instead. One which has been met with harsh criticism.

The Met will use the new logo on its website and print materials from March. Currently the old one is still visible on the website.


The Met’s new logo embodies its nickname which will also be its official name from now on. As you can see from the picture the new logo is the words “THE” and “MET” stacked on top of each other in red lettering set against a white background. These colours can also be reversed. This new logo has prompted some critics to describe it as a “red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other’s backs” This visual description referencing its design heritage which came from London-based design studio Wolff Olins.

The logo itself was crafted by British Designer Gareth Hague who was is no stranger to controversy with his most famous work being the London 2012 Olympics logo. The Met logo features a combination of serif face, sans-serif touches, and calligraphic influences. The six letters form a design that’s clean, modern and stripped-down. The individual letters seamlessly flow from one to the next symbolising the Met’s history and exhibitions that span from Medieval pieces to Modern Art. This combination of old and new clashing together to form a logo of differing opinions.

The redesign includes two, distinct typefaces: Austin, a serif typeface and a sans serif typeface with Calibre influences. There’s also a bold and vibrant colour palette along with a dotted line featuring diamond-shaped icons that are being dubbed “ornaments.” These design touches will be featured on the Met’s maps, digital platforms, signage and info material to ensure consistent brand recognition for all visitors.

The brand’s designers state that the decision making came about on the need to focus on accessibility. The typeface choice and colour palette were selected as they as synonymous across a wider visitor base of varying backgrounds.

In conclusion this is a bold choice from the Mett and Wolff Olins. The logo has certainly been met with its criticism, however it should be noted that most major change in the design world is met with critique rather than acceptance. The opinion slowly shifts with time as people become accustomed to the change. Facebook is a fantastic example of this.

What are your thoughts on the re-design? Do you think it’s a squashed, double-decker bus? Or a jump into the modern for the Metropolitan Museum? Let us know in the comments below

Written by Formation Formation