Branding and Wayfinding
Rebranding and reinterpreting a cultural ‘hidden gem’ after a £3.8 million investment.
Visual Identity Design
The Hatton Gallery is the creative heart of Newcastle University and for over 50 years has been central to some of the most influential thinking in modern art.
It is while teaching Fine Art at Newcastle (1954 to 1966), that Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore developed the ‘Basic Design’ movement, marking a radical change in art education – exhibiting their groundbreaking works in the gallery. Today the Hatton is home to an internationally significant permanent collection that includes the Merz Barn Wall by Kurt Schwitters.
A £3.8million investment has enabled the gallery to upgrade its facilities with the aim of growing its audience and securing its future. Infinite was commissioned to design and develop a new brand identity and wayfinding and interpretation system for this exciting creative space.
We began with a series of workshops and one-to-one meetings involving stakeholders from across the Univerity and museums service. We discussed, in detail, how the gallery was currently perceived and how best to re-position its offer in the future.
The Hatton and the Fine Art Department are historically linked, meaning it is more than just an art gallery – it’s home to a community of practising artists and academics. The goal was to communicate this story and set it apart from other cultural institutions.
We recommended a bold approach. Removing the descriptor ‘gallery’ from the brand name we designed a simple geometric letterform marque and tested variations among the project team and wider stakeholders.
It was important that the design style should not fight visually with any artworks. We deliberately chose a monochrome, black and white, colour palette.
We then developed a series of brand messages based on market research and produced a comprehensive set of brand guidelines to inform future marketing activity.
Principal Officer for Communications
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
“Infinite’s approach to the branding and wayfinding was strategic, creative, collaborative and systematic. They ensured all stakeholders were consulted and involved throughout. I think the results speak for themselves”
Hatton Development Project Manager
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
We then focused on how visitors will use the space. Designing wayfinding, signage and interpretation that both guides and informs them through the historical, multi-phase building.
We undertook a site survey to understand the requirements of the wayfinding system, then proposed a functional framework that explained how to deliver the information and directions required by visitors.
Establishing routes and circulation and plotting critical decision points and key locations, we drafted messages for all signs and explored materials, colours and typography to ensure that all reflect the new brand identity and conform to the agreed wayfinding strategy.
With a design style influenced by Richard Hamilton’s seminal work, ‘Man, Machine, and Motion’ (first exhibited at the gallery in 1955). We provided visuals and schematics that resolved the details of colour, finishes and mounts, detailing how each sign looked, we then managed their fabrication and installation.
The result is a contemporary yet timeless brand expression that both reflects the Hatton’s notable past and communicates a renewed confidence in its future.
Photography by Michael Baister
Morris, Hargreaves, McIntyre were commissioned to undertake extensive market research identifying target audiences and their motivations for visiting the gallery. The findings informed the brand development throughout.