Adventures in Rebranding: Oakland Museum of California


Art-themed architecture can be big and bold, or stark and subtle. In mid-century California, Brutalism was the design edict of choice, and now area code 510 is bringing it back into the public eye with a renovation of the Oakland Museum of California.

Civic architects Mark Cavegnero Associates are retrofitting the existing structure with modernized gallery spaces and open interiors. A cleaned-up new logo is part of the museum’s reinvented aesthetic identity. Take a look at the relook below the cut.

As reported on Brand New, the new logo is “more oak, less cal,” meaning that the fusty historical connotations of California history are downplayed in a brand mark that utilizes a generic sans-serif font in a blocky, letterpress formation. The old logo stressed the state over the city of Oakland, a nod to an expansive historical collection that includes artifacts like vintage Levi’s, Grateful Dead posters, and Native American baskets.

As for the building itself, the $58 million retrofit —which will be unveiled this spring — raises the low profile of the concrete building locals dubbed “the bunker,” creating two light-filled galleries out of interior courtyards and adding a brushed stainless-steel canopy for the central staircase.

We know you’ve got an opinion, so tell us what you think of the new OMCA logo in the comments.