Building an
in-house design team at the
São Paulo Museum of Art, MASP

2015
Culture, Arts, Graphic Design, Visual Identity, Communication, Editorials, Exhibitions, Signage

2015 was a remarkable year for the museum. A new direction was brought aboard, radically changing the diversity politics in the exhibitions and, mostly, retrieving the original museum fundamentals.

2015
Culture, Arts, Graphic Design, Visual Identity, Communication, Editorials, Exhibitions, Signage

2015 was a remarkable year for the museum. A new direction was brought aboard, radically changing the diversity politics in the exhibitions and, mostly, retrieving the original museum fundamentals.

The São Paulo Museum of Art, MASP, is one of the most prominent Latin American museums, with a solid history in art education, publishings, and a significant national and international collection. Its building has an eloquent presence in São Paulo, spotted on the city’s principal avenue, Paulista Ave.

The time I worked there, 2015, was a remarkable year for the museum. A new direction was brought aboard, radically changing the diversity politics in the exhibitions and, mostly, retrieving the original museum fundamentals, such as a comprehensive view of different kinds of art, public protagonism, and dialogue with the environment. In this context, the Graphic Design Department was founded, and I’m fortunate to be invited to the early team.

Visual identity rebranding




Working closely with the curatorial staff, the graphic design team was responsible for every visual demand of the museum’s many departments. For instance, we were in collaboration with the Marketing, producing digital and printing ads, social media posts, and website content; the Store, with institutional goodies; the Library and MASP School, with aids materials; the Architecture, collaborating with the graphics for exhibitions and the building signage; among many others.

All this wide range of different fields within the design should be unified under the same visual identity. Other than that, these visuals were in the mission to demonstrate the museum’s program renewing while honoring its legacy at the same time. And that was the most exciting challenge for me in this experience at MASP.


Solution: keep it simple


The solution we ended up with was to keep the typography element identity, still using the Futura Bold typeface and the red, black, and white colors once it was a constant throughout the museums’ history. Other than that, every element was disposed of, from the logotype to the signage and every other piece. In that way, its use remained simple enough to work in all kinds of its applying. The result was an expressive and easily recognized but clean visual.

My role





As a staff designer, it was part of my responsibilities to communicate with the departments, layout and produce the dozens of pieces made daily, go to image research, and contribute to the decisions of the visual identity developed by the designer director.

Going beyond my part, I dived on my own into the studies of the museum's history and the building’s project, designed by the legendary architect Lina Bo Bardi. In my free time, I enjoyed visiting the Library's collection to look for print materials produced throughout the years. This parallel activity returned to my official work with the contribution of the iconographic research for the Cavaletes de Cristal book.




Editorial


Following the inclusion program of the MASP, we investigated new catalogs and publication formats in order to have more affordable distribution. MASP de Bolso (MASP Pocket Booklet) is one of the experiments we made. In a saddle stitch booklet, the visitor would be able to know the major collection masterpieces.

Map for visitors





The Welcome Card with the MASP map was one of the printings I had much fun producing. Definitely, it was a piece needed. The building —constructed in 1968 and signed by the exponent architect Lina Bo Bardi— has a particular floor plan for each pavement. The entrance is just a ticket window, followed by the up and down stairs.

We went from the detailed drawing the Architect Department sent us to a synthesized diagram to produce the map. The big red columns were the reference point for all the floor plans and the section drawings. The gray areas indicate what is not allowed for public visitation and the empty space.


An easy-to-keep goodie


The accordion format, starting as a half a3 and going up to an a6 format, was a solution for two problems: It should be easy for the visitor to consult, carry and keep in his pocket, and it should be easy to print on demand once it’s a high distribution folder. For this project, I designed the maps and the early versions, and the piece was finished after I left.


Software used


AutoCAD, Illustrator, and InDesign

Takeaways





Learnings


After studying Lina and the iconic MASP building during my bachelor’s degree in Architecture, participating in this moment of the museum's refounding was an opportunity to see the stories from the books I read in my daily reality.

Working within the museum building was an opportunity to daily observe in person the users of my design work. “Are they squatting too much to read the credits?” or “Are the visitors still getting lost and asking about where the coffee is?” are examples of our permanent proofing and questioning our production.

Finally, working for a museum with the magnitude of MASP, I had to deal with designing for thousands or millions of different people. Seeing some ads I created at bus stops on the principal São Paulo Avenue or street clocks was one way to notice the actual impact design can be.


Takeaways


I created the files organization system, and all the templates for the several teams could have autonomy and agility in their works (such as presentations, exhibition credits, business cards, and certificates, among others).

I contributed to the effectiveness and consistent application of the museum's new visual identity guidelines.

I contributed to increasing the knowledge of the iconography produced throughout the museum's history.

I facilitated the communication between the design team and the departments.


Softwares mostly used


InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Google Sheets, Keynote, Powerpoint

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