Saturday, February 23, 2013

Putnam History Museum

We feel lucky that we get to live and work in the historic hamlet of Garrison, New York, located in Putnam County; a stunning part of the Hudson Highlands region. This region is well-known for it’s rich history. We have the West Point Military Academy. It was here that the most critical battles of the  Revolutionary War took place. It was here that the American Environmental Movement began with the legislative battle against ConEdison, who planned to build a hydro-electric plant on Storm King Mountain. It was here that Russell Wright built his famous woodland home, Manitoga (meaning “place of great spirit”); setting the tone for Modernist living in America. And it was here that the Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum was established. 

Concluding that the existing name was a mouth-and-mind-full, we worked with museum director Mindy Krazmien and the museum's board of directors to revitalize the organization by first renaming it, and then rebranding it. For this 107-year-old institution, we came up with the name Putnam History Museum, which is a more succinct description of its function in the county and community.

Once a new name was established, we decided that the format and color should be contemporary and memorable, to catch people’s attention, while the form had to be stable and strong to represent the museum’s role as a community stronghold. The combination of typefaces suggests a span of time, from the beginning of the Dutch settlement to modern-day New York. The serif typeface we chose, DTL Fleischmann, is a revival of the eccentric Baroque typefaces designed by Johann Michael Fleischmann in the 18th Century. And the accompanying sans-serif typeface, Gotham Light, is a popular choice rooted in the no nonsense lettering of the American vernacular. The stacked, lined layout of typography suggests the organization of an archive. And the color we chose is inspired by rust; symbolic of age, particularly of iron, which refers to the museum’s relationship with the West Point Foundry.

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