The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), a world cultures and natural history museum, is among the oldest, largest, and most prestigious museums in North America. While local residents know and have affection for the ROM, research found that these feelings were often passive and nostalgic, keeping visitors from viewing the ROM as a place worth visiting again and again. The ROM’s 100th anniversary offered a timely and singular opportunity to chart the Museum’s future and define its unique impact.
After performing an extensive audit of the Museum’s research initiatives, planning and marketing materials, we led a series of visioning work sessions with a steering committee of leaders across departments and the Board, and conducted extensive interviews with external stakeholders in order to crystallize our understanding of the greatest opportunity and impact for the ROM in the local, regional, and international landscape.
Building on those insights, we then developed a comprehensive strategy for repositioning the Museum as a dynamic, essential destination for visitors of all backgrounds and ages that builds community, nurtures discovery, and inspires wonder.
Based on the newly articulated vision, we then reimagined the graphic identity for the Museum and all of its related programs. With the opening of the ROM’s new main entrance in 2007, a “building-centric” graphic identity system had been launched, mirroring the sharp angles of Daniel Libeskind’s architecture. When compared to the Museum’s new strategy in 2013, the graphic felt out of sync with the actual visitor experience. It was clear that the graphic identity needed to move towards a more “community-centric” position.
LaPlaca Cohen worked with the Museum to translate the positioning work into a new graphic identity system that powerfully framed the audience experience of the encyclopedic Museum. As such, the “lens” was chosen as the anchoring reference point of design. The “R” and “M” systematically flank the central “O,” which serves as a lens through which to explore and discover the smallest to the largest elements of our universe.
The new logotype and related graphic identity were bold and easily legible, but also adaptable to the vast range of audiences that the ROM wanted to target, from culturally-active adults to families with young children and other community groups.
By asserting a clear vision for the ROM’s future, the new strategy and graphic identity brought the Museum’s many departments into greater alignment, and amplified its impact on a broad variety of target audiences. By activating this new vision across many channels, including a new website, advertising campaigns, a mobile app, print collateral, merchandise, and more, the Museum has powerfully reinforced its unique role as an inviting, vibrant, and vital destination, where visitors come to see the world anew time and time again.
Positioning And Messaging Strategy