Gardiner Museum Identity

The Gardiner Museum is a hub for clay and ceramics, with a collection of over four thousand objects from the Ancient Americas, Europe, Japan, China as well as contemporary works from Canadian artists. Bringing the community together through inspiration, it interprets “historical ceramics to emphasize their relevance today, and champion emerging and established Canadian artists and their role in the broader world”. The re-design of the Gardiner Museum’s visual identity will reflect the museum’s vast array of clay and ceramic collections and will help it establish a stronger presence within the community.

*This is a conceptual project designed for a school course.
Branding, Communication Design
Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Figma
3 months


I began my process by conducting background research on the company in order to gain a better understanding of its current branding, history, values, goals, competitors and challenges. By understanding the company from a holistic perspective, I would be able to tackle the redesign in a way that would represent and symbolize the brand identity. I summarized my findings in a research report, which was followed by establishing a design direction for the redesign.

View Research Report


My primary goal in the re-design was to reflect the museum’s vast array of clay and ceramic collections and help it establish a stronger presence within the community. I established four challenges in redesigning the identity: a wordmark and icon that reflect the museum’s collections, values and role within the community, a cohesive design system, a brand identity that works in print, digital and environmental applications and design elements that are flexible and adaptable for future use. 

I came up with three essence words to guide my design direction: unity, diversity and care. These three words, are representative of the museums culture and it was important that these values come through the brand identity. 

I then created a moodboard to visualize how I might bring my essence words into the new brand identity, keeping in mind the challenges I wanted to tackle. While curating images, I considered the architecture of the building which uses a lot of repetition of horizontal and vertical lines, and also the nature and texture of clay. I thought about the flexibility of clay, and techniques commonly used in clay and ceramic work. I also considered how clay transforms from a block of material to a formed object. It is brought to life through form, texture and colour.

Final Design

The re-design of the Gardiner Museum’s visual identity reflects the museum’s vast array of clay and ceramic collections and will help it establish a stronger presence within the community. The new logo is inspired by the architecture of the building, and the linework which appears throughout clay and ceramic work. As the primary image within the system, the wordmark and icon show-case not only the museum’s collections but also its values. While the museum brand will primarily be shown in black and white, it also has three brand colours that may be used as accent colours for identity applications. The new identity paired with a cohesive design system is flexible, adaptable and works with both print and digital applications.

I also created a design standards manual to outline the new identity.

View Design Standards Manual



This conceptual project was extremely fun as I built a new identity from the ground up. It was amazing to see the project grow from research to applying the new identity to applications. I love the way the new identity turned out and believe it better represents the museum and its values than the current identity. I learned about the different elements that create a brand identity and the importance of designing for different applications and sizes. If I had more time I would work on applying the identity to more applications such as environmental applications and wayfinding.


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