Inspiring evolution in socially engaged museums

Museums Association

The Museums Association is a membership organisation with a mission – to inspire museums to change lives. We devised, designed and built a dynamic new website that reflects its vision and values, while evolving the visual identity of this active campaigning organisation. Visit website
  • Content strategy
  • User experience
  • Digital design & build
  • Brand identity
Installation by Japanese bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, at OMM by Kengo Kuma and Associates. Photograph ©NAARO.
The need to adapt
The Museums Association represents 10,000+ individual members, 1,500 institutional member museums and 250 commercial companies. Its vision is to develop socially engaged and participatory museums at the heart of their communities, but an outdated site experience and tired brand were holding up this evolution into a campaigning organisation. We were challenged to create a site which balanced today’s audience needs with the association’s aims, while updating a brand identity which was rooted in the world of print.
Museums are not about buildings and objects, they are spaces to have your perceptions challenged and your ideas broadened.”
From the brief
Intuitive architecture

Despite its singular mission, the Museums Association has multiple roles for diverse audiences, from a campaigning body to a tool for finding jobs, objects and suppliers. This complexity wasn’t reflected in an internally driven site structure and taxonomy, which made discovery difficult and left user needs unmet. We created a concise and user-friendly navigation – making the site more intuitive to browse and find what you need.

Active campaigning

Campaigns are a huge part of what the Museums Association does, but it was difficult to see the full scope of this work and how much content existed. We explored the idea of depth and breadth, showing an overview of the campaigns at a glance, while offering the opportunity to go deeper. The ‘brand volume’ of this campaigning voice is turned up, leading with the most active colour combinations and bolder typography.

Quality journalism

Much more than a blog, the Museums Journal is an integral part of the MA’s offer to members, providing access to quality editorial content. We wanted to create a credible reading experience, positioning the Journal as a news and information hub for museums. By introducing tags we could show the variety of content and activity for readers to browse.

Brand revolution
The previous corporate-feeling brand was out of step with the progressive nature of the topics the Museums Association speaks on. While it was important to remain inclusive and not alienate existing members, the new identity feels more relevant to current conversations, blending the organisation’s heritage with its forward-facing activist evolution.
Brand revolution

The colour palette challenges the audience to take notice by throwing up unexpected combinations. The type stack also flexes – it’s conversational in the journal style, but more demanding in the campaigning voice. Other design components are functional and intuitive, with layered image frames inviting different perspectives to suggest that nobody ever sees the full picture.

Beyond the site

The identity lives beyond the website in social posts and marketing campaigns. Here, a flexible system ensures recognition of the brand, while adapting across everyday content to key campaigns and hero events.

Helping the Museums Association thrive
34%
Year-on-year increase in sessions, from 53k to 71k
19%
Year-on-year increase in monthly users, from 36k to 43k
Output took the time to understand our organisation, engaged well with our brief, and brought so many ideas – it has been one of the most positive and fun projects we have worked on. Given that much of the work was done against the backdrop of Covid-19 and lockdown, this could have a been a difficult process, but Output’s commitment really shone through.”
Will Adams
Deputy Director, Museums Association