Total Design case: Van Gogh Museum visual identity and logo

The Van Gogh Museum

A stage for a Dutch master

When creating an identity for the Van Gogh Museum we had a delicate path to tread; We wanted to use the old master as our inspiration but never stand in his way but rather create a stage for him to shine and inspire.

Our creative team explored Van Gogh’s work with the amazing curators at the museum. After indulging ourselves in the rich work, we went for one brushstroke from the Het Korenveld (The Cornfield)-painting. This single stroke became a core of the visual identity.

We chose the four primary colours from two of the most iconic masterpieces: Zonnebloemen (Sunflowers) and Amandelbloesem (Almond blossom). Eight additional colours from other works completed the colour palette. With this ‘footprint’ a world of possibilities opened up to us.

The simple, black and white logo refers to Gerrit Rietveld’s original design for the museum and forms a powerful contrast to the intensity of Van Gogh’s work. The quotes from his personal letters gives a glimpse into his world and his drive to create art that would stand the test of time.

‘We have broadened and deepened our story, adding new elements. This is how we pass on Van Gogh’s legacy to new generations, so that his inspiration lives on.’

Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum