National Museums Scotland

Repositioning a national institution

Where did we start?

National Museums Scotland (NMS) was made up of five museums: the National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Costume, National Museum of Flight, National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum Scotland and a collection centre for conservation and research. They had a complex and confusing naming system and unclear umbrella brand, which had evolved in an ad hoc way. Our brief was not only to make all the different sites equally recognised as part of one National Museum, but to create a logical naming system that clearly described what each museum had to offer. We needed to clarify the purpose of this institution and create a strong visual language that would create uniformity across all the sites.

What did we do?

Based around the idea of ‘real things, revealing stories’, the new brand we created for NMS presents five very different museums as part of one ‘museum family’. As well as consulting diverse groups of visitors, we worked very closely with the Director and his team, involving large numbers of staff in brand development workshops to ensure the brand reflected both the needs of visitors and the passion of the staff. With shared values and a vision to put its visitors at the heart of everything it does National Museums Scotland has repositioned itself as a place for visitors to share ideas, not just receive information.

What's the impact?

The strategy and central idea have been being used as a tool for decision making across NMS from the design of the new display cases in the renovated National Museum of Scotland to the fundraising materials. The consistency and clarity of the brand helped NMS beat their fundraising target by £1M. Internally the brand has also been very positively received and they are now a more strategic and focused organisation.

“Jane Wentworth Associates and Hat-trick Design listened to our needs, took time to understand the issues and opportunities, and worked with the team really well. They were always happy to address concerns and suggest new solutions, and the proposals they came up with were creative, practical and just right for our strategic needs. Since the launch we’ve had excellent feedback from staff, media and our peers. I have no hesitation in recommending them to other clients for their great ideas, good humour and creative talent. We were delighted with the project.”

Catherine Holden, Director of External Affairs
National Museum Scotland

Design: Hat-trick Design