Identity Re-design:
Benicia Historical Museum

The Benicia Historical Museum in Benicia, CA is located in the historic Benicia Arsenal structures, where camels were housed after a failed U.S. Military experiment to use them as pack animals in 1850's and 1860's. Initially, the museum seemed to have a split personality with two graphic elements being used for the facility's identity. The simplistic circular logo incorporated a camel and arches representing the buildings. An almost cartoon-ish camel image was used for online identification of the museum. The images were used in one-color; usually black or dark brown.

The museum requested an identity that graphically conveyed a historical perspective for marketing and promotion purposes. A bit more focus on the locally recognized historic structures was desired, while maintaining some reference to the camels of post Civil War times.

The oval shape, with banners, presented a more "antique" look for the identity. The font trio of Horndon, PanAm and Copperplate added to the image. The camel image used was borrowed from an antique etching of the historic facility. Stars incorporated into the design hint at the military history of the site. The colors used reflect the sandstone buildings and the red in the original flag used when Benicia was California's state capitol.

The new identity is serving the museum very well in drawing much more attention to its presence in the local community and surrounding area. It's also bringing recognition to the museum on a national and international level. Last year the logo received an American Corporate Identity 22 award and, as a result, is featured in the book American Corporate Identity 2007. Recently it was announced that the image also received a LOGO 2007 honor and will be in the upcoming book The Big Book of Logos 5.

(Note: My new book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives