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The Natural History Museum’s Marketing Design Team collaborates closely with the Exhibition Design Team, and is tasked with developing the logo lockup, marketing campaign, and onsite environmental graphics for each exhibition. The marketing campaign should have a visual throughline to the exhibition itself. Early in the process of designing an exhibition, the two teams meet to brainstorm titles, logo approach, color palette, and overall visual style. Substantial contributions to the exhibition came from Universal Studios, who functioned as a second client for this project (the first being the VP of Marketing). Universal particularly stressed to the team that they wanted to see a fresh, modern approach to the horror genre. This aligned with the Marketing team's goals for the campaign, which were to leverage the graphics and content to attract an untapped young adult audience.
For the logo lockup, the design team extensively researched horror logos for both books and film. Sharply pointed letterforms were extruded and warped by hand, to represent a twisted reality: a "Frankenstein" typeface that bears little resemblance to its original inspiration. From the logo, the designer created a fully functional, custom typeface that was also used in the exhibition. The exhibition focused on the natural science behind four classic movie monsters and design for that exhibition divides the space into color-coded sections. The Marketing Design Team used the cinematic hero images, along with the bright section colors and watercolor textures to create a dreamy, layered art style. Vector diagrams and scientific sketches in the background make reference to the science presented in the exhibition, alluding to content that goes beyond movie characters, props and posters.
The design of the marketing materials was a huge hit with both our internal Marketing client, and with Universal Studios. Both applauded the fresh, unusual approach to the horror visuals - taking imagery many people are familiar with, and presenting it in a new way. As intended, the marketing campaign drew a completely new audience to the Natural History Museum, many of whom had not visited before. Based on achieving this new attendance goal, the Natural History of Horror campaign has been considered a huge success.