MuSEAum Design Innovation branding beinc

Design Innovation: Past. Present. Future.

Past, Present and Future. 3 constants in life. The only one we can be certain of is the past- so that begs the question: where have we been, where are we now and where are we going? We have the privilege and burden of living in a thriving reality. What we thought was possible 5 years ago or even yesterday is constantly being challenged.

We have come to understand that change is a good thing, we should not only expect change but embrace it. A perfect example of this is the vastly successful rebrand of the Australian National Maritime Museum’ by the ‘Frost* collective’. This rebrand received a prestigious award from Good Design Australia for their exceptional efforts in communication design, and, branding and identity.

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Darling Harbour is Australia’snational centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research, and archaeology. Whatmany don’t know, the term ‘Maritime’ means ‘connected with the sea’.


“Our museum lies within the country’s busiest tourist precinct, receiving more than 25 million visits a year, and is also the Australian Government’s most visible cultural institution in Sydney. The unveiling of this bold, new direction inspired by the sea, marks the next phase of our revitalisation.”


Kevin Sumpton

Director and CEO

Australian National Maritime Museum

MuSEAum branding logo design innovation beinc

The Challenge

MuSeaum branding logo design innovation old to new beinc
In the constantly changing and evolving world, along with strong competition, limited funding, and increased visitor expectations, the Australian National Maritime Museum was in danger of becoming obsolete in the industry.
The ANMM was in desperate need of acquiring new audiences and an increase in visitors when the nearby Darling Harbour was undergoing a major renovation and refresh. As many of the museum’s visitors come from people walking around Darling Harbour, it was critical the that new brand created a substantial impact on the harbour itself. More specifically, in order to be effective the new branding would need to be presented on an enormous scale so that it can be seen nearby as well as from across the water. It was also important to establish the brand as a monument of Sydney’s leading cultural venue.
A complete rebrand and redevelopment of the Museum were crucial so that the company could survive in this difficult environment. The brand was facing a number of issues, the identity was being represented as old, virile, and uninviting, as well as complex and confusing due to the over-use of nautical references. Overall, this made it extremely unappealing to many target audiences. Unsurprisingly, the majority of visitors didn’t know what the term ‘maritime’ means. The brand was also suffering, as this identity was not consistent across its communications streams.

The MuSEAum project was the defining point of a three-year collaboration to completely rebrand the Australian National Maritime Museum, expanding its audience engagement that would then support its future growth. This particular project was a revolutionary design innovation that transformed the outdated maritime platitudes into a strong contemporary brand. The goal was to create a strong brand strategy, brand narrative and brand identity that reconceptualised the company’s values and showed its role in connecting us to the sea.

The Creative Solution

Branding design museaum logo branding

To develop a new brand strategy, narrative and identity for ANMM, the design team had to understand the history of the brand and the elements that make it special. Taking the time and care into listening to the staff and customers allowed them to understand what change was needed to bring the museum into the new world. A prominent problem was identified: “visitors want an immersive experience, not a passive history lesson”. This resulted in the creation of the new brand identity of ‘The spirit of Adventure’ featuring a new versatile and captivating experience relating directly to the sea.

The name “Mu-SEA-um” was developed as an enticing way of portraying the value behind the brand, and the vivid connection they have with the sea. Not only does this clear and simple rename overcome the struggles of the museum’s name in the past, it is also an ingenious and entertaining approach that immediately communicates the modern experience of the museum. The new fun name allowed the institution to become more friendly and approachable. The new aesthetic logo was carefully designed to reflect and resemble the free-fluid nature of water.

The cultivation of a vibrant colour palette, versatile logo, bright photography and lively visuals brought the new brand identity to life, possible for presentation across digital and print content. MuSEAum remarkably transformed the overall image of the brand by taking the dull traditional navy and static photographs and substituting them with vibrant colours, enticing photography and graphics.

The Impact

Harbour Building Photograph sydney museaum branding design innovation impact

“We’ve experienced a stratospherically bumper summer on the back of the new brand launch and our exhibition strategy. 82% up year-on-year, which is pretty epic for January – our peak month.”


Jackson Pellow

Manager Brand & Marketing

Australian National Maritime Museum

A distinct and coherent way of speaking and communicating is imperative in order for the museum to be better heard, quickly recognised and, most importantly, easily remembered. In the increasingly completive market, it is more important than ever to stand out in the crowded cultural marketplace of Sydney.
Since the rebrand, MuSEAum has seen record-breaking visitations. This new brand, with a focus on fun, adventure, and experience showed a drastic change in the success of exhibitions, communications and overall customer satisfaction. This innovation elicits how successful positive change is to the present and future of a brand.
Multi branding images design impact marketing collateral

Images by MuSEAum.

Leave a Comment

Beinc logo


0422 647 297



11 Bishop Street, Kelvin Grove 4059
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Need Help with your Brand?

Struggling to get the attention and results your brand deserves?

Get expert help from our team now!