Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Historical Museum of Southern Florida

"The Historical Museum of Southern Florida tells the stories of South Florida and the Caribbean. The museum promotes understanding of the past in order to inform the present and create a better quality of life."

The museum has always had a great variety of informative exhibitions, programs, lectures and events but the promotional pieces such as posters, invitations, etc were sometimes outdated looking and there was no cohesiveness between the pieces. Many people were not aware that the museum existed and those who did, sometimes perceived it as boring.

The objective was to give HMSF a "makeover" and create awareness among the community as well as tourists. The first step was to create branding guidelines that would be applied to all material produced by the museum. This meant educating each department on the correct placement of logos and new tag line, having a consistent voice and establishing how historic images would be used.


This process proved to be a challenge and decisions had to be made regarding keeping some of the old (such as the logo, colors and characters). The final decision was to maintain some of the old items and integrate them with more contemporary designs and layouts.

The posters (above and below) are examples of the implemented branding guidelines. The name of the museum always appears at the top over a solid bar. The HMSF logo always appears at the bottom and must be accompanied by the address and contact information in an established order.

The Florida Home Modern Living

The Florida Home Modern Living exhibition was represented by pieces like posters (above), a large self mailer showing illustrations and photographs from the exhibition and a postcard invitation. Each piece was carefully thought out and designed taking into consideration effectiveness of the piece while eliminating the need for envelopes and reducing printing and mailing costs.


Miami Beach America's Tropical Resort

This invitation to Miami Beach: America's Tropical Resort (below) has the same look and feel of the poster and all other marketing material pertaining to that exhibition. By being consistent in the pieces, constituents and visitors were easily able to identify the exhibition and the fact that it was the Historical Museum of Southern Florida who was organizing it as well as additional programming and events. Attendance increased greatly for this exhibition and it attracted a broad range of age groups as well.

Miami Beach: America's Tropical Playground advertisement with 2 for 1 admission.

Education Programs and Summer Camps

The Educational Programs featured designs from the Seminole Indian Tribes and popular objects displayed in the permanent exhibits such as the trolley.

The Summer Camp brochure is another example where an already existing character and font continued to be used but the rest of the layout and photos had a completely different look than before. The idea was to make a slow transition and improvement in the design since many educators and schools recognized the piece due to the old font and character. The brochure went from being a one color piece with the character on the cover as the only image to a four color brochure showing the actual children participating in the activities. This piece was successful in attracting more children to the HMSF camps.

Exhibition Catalogs and South Florida History magazine

Catalogs were created to accompany the exhibitions. These are on sale at the museum's gift shop and a great way of educating visitors and allowing them to take something that would remind them of the exhibition and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.


Invitations to the museum's signature events were also updated and re-designed. This invitation consisted of an actual invitation, RSVP card and return envelope as well as a sponsor card. Some of the pieces used only one color to save on printing costs.

Many of the museum's pieces integrate wonderful historic photographs from the permanent collection with bright and bold colors that grab people's attention and give the museum a lighter and more fun feel as opposed to being dull and serious.


Unknown said...

Interesting challenge, the one the museum has gone through. Couple of questions: 1. How long ago was the "remodelling" of the strategy? 2. Has it worked, do you know if there are more people going to the museum? and 3. Did you by any chance participate in the new forms of advertising?

larango said...

Thank you for your comments Mauricio. The re-design and establishing of branding guidelines began in 2005 and continued to be refined and developed until 2007.

These changes have proved to be successful. Attendance for exhibitions and related programming increased in comparison to previous years. Many constituents had positive comments about the "updated" design and mentioned that they were excited to come to some of the events based on the direct mail pieces received. The redesign also attracted new visitors and a younger audience.

I did participate in the new forms of advertising. The identity and tag line was applied in all areas of marketing this included all print ads, e-vites, e-fliers, banners, etc. More efficient use was made of the advertising budget by spending less on print ads and direct mail pieces and using other forms of online advertising instead. We also made use of public spaces (at no cost) that had been overlooked in the past, such as display cases in the elevators of buildings surrounding the museum. Joint advertising with the Miami Art Museum was also a great way for both organizations to bring in more visitors and encourage them to visit both museums at the same time. It also allowed both HMSF and MAM to save on advertising costs by partnering together.