City Museum

City Museum is located in downtown St. Louis—but attracts visitors and attention from around the world. A cross between a playground, art exhibit and museum, the 10-story building is full of climbable sculptures, winding tunnels, nostalgic ephemera and interactive exhibits, all made from repurposed materials that cities have left behind. But as unique and well-known as the attraction is, City Museum’s brand hadn’t kept up.

City Museum's new logo and tagline

Branding the undefinable.

Originally founded by a sculptor looking to share his artistic expressions, City Museum quickly gained worldwide notoriety. The space is like no other: a school bus teeters off the roof, tunnels snake behind walls and under floors, and there’s little signage to guide the way—the experience is designed to encourage unrestrained exploration and discovery.

Premier Parks, which owns more than a dozen theme parks, had purchased City Museum. They wanted to stay true to City Museum’s rebellious spirit (along with no wayfinding signs, City Museum rarely used traditional advertising) but knew it needed a refreshed brand to stay profitable and growing.

Photos of the interior and exterior of City Museum

A visual identity inside the box.

City Museum’s logo was tethered to decades of nostalgia. It was also outdated. We kept its essence but modernized it with updated type and fresh colors. And by adding a rectangular box, we gave it context and opportunity for variations: the box symbolizes City Museum’s building, and different versions highlight the exhibits inside (and outside, and on top).

City Museum brand colors and patterns inspired by the building and exhibits

Putting it all into words.

How do you describe a place like City Museum? It’s a question we asked ourselves throughout the project. Taking inspiration from our interviews with the City Museum team, quotes from the founder, and even our own visits from childhood and beyond, we crafted a brand narrative and tagline that begin to encapsulate the City Museum experience.

City Museum brand narrative, which starts with

A brand at play.

How the brand would be shared was just as important as the identity itself. Our team had fun concepting various creative expressions: flashlight vending machines, “I got lost” stickers, t-shirts we wanted for our own closets and, yes, even a few ads. The teams at City Museum, originally apprehensive about the potential changes, are excited about the refresh. And Premier Parks now has a foundation on which they can grow the business.

Flag pole banner and billboard with City Museum's new branding
Expressions of City Museum's new branding, including t-shirts, stickers and a print ad
City Museum website design on a laptop

An experience made digital.

With the branding finalized, we turned our attention to the screen. The website needed to give visitors a taste of the City Museum experience while also providing users with the details they’d be looking for to plan their visit. We injected the brand’s tone and visuals throughout the site’s design, along with clear menu options and thoughtfully placed information. When the site launches in the coming months, animations, sliders, collage-like elements and a few surprises will give visitors an instant dose of fun before they ever step foot inside the building.