Ashmolean Museum

400% more visitors

Where did we start?

In 2008 - 325 years after it first opened its doors  - the UK’s oldest museum and the world’s most important University museum was undergoing a £61 million redevelopment which would almost double the gallery space available to display the museum’s world class collections of art and archaeology. This physical transformation undertaken by Rick Mather Architects was designed to reveal the connections between different cultures and open up the collections for a much broader range of visitors. Our brief was to create a brand strategy and visual identity that would reflect this ambition, without compromising the Museum’s important role as an academic resource for Oxford University.

What did we do?

Working closely with all stakeholders, we devised a single compelling idea for the museum: ‘Opening minds to the joy of learning’ with which everyone could engage. For staff, it means ‘we welcome everyone, we’re proud to share our expertise and enthusiasm’. For visitors, the Ashmolean is a fun and rewarding place where learning is neither dry nor stuffy. For Oxford University, it means ‘the Museum is our public face, the doorway into our knowledge and excellence’. The new visual identity was designed to create a coherent style that linked all the Museum’s activities and the logotype boldly celebrates Museum’s unique and memorable name, the distinctive letter O at the fulcrum of the word opening a ‘window’ on the Ashmolean’s rich and diverse collections.

What's the impact?

In November 2009, the Ashmolean re-opened its doors to great critical acclaim and enthusiastic support from visitors to take its position as a world class museum in the heart of England. In the first 12 months since re-opening they welcomed over 1.2m visitors, which is around 4 times their audience numbers from the previous year. In 2014 we were invited back to update the brand strategy in line with the newly appointed Director’s vision, work with the staff to embed and interpret the strategy, and develop a comprehensive audience development plan to achieve their ambitious visitor targets.

"We've continued to work with JWA since 2006 due to the strength of their analysis, imaginative ideas and courage of their convictions. Their recent work to help us develop a concise, clear and practical audience development strategy has enabled us to take a major leap towards achieving our ambitious audience targets."

Susan McCormack, Head of Public Engagement, Ashmolean Museum

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