Thackray Museum of Medicine

A body good brand

O Street went guts-out with Thackray Museum of Medicine to design a next-generation brand to make visitors squirm with delight. Armed with a new logo, signage, and visitor experience, Thackray have since been shortlisted for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2021.

Housed in a 160 year old listed building, Thackray Museum of Medicine has been immersing visitors in the history of healthcare for over 20 years. In 2019 they began work on a reimagined immersive visitor experience. This ambitious revamp needed a recognisable brand to match. 

We worked with strategic thinkers Creative Concern to build a new identity that put Thackray’s creative and quirky personality front and centre.

Thackray Museum of Medicine has evolved over the years and has a diverse board of Trustees, so we wanted to gain as much insight as possible into what makes Thackray tick.

We realised that what made Thackray special and distinct from other museums was the eclectic mix of exhibitions and their focus on provoking a reaction. Our concept ‘What’s Inside Us’ became the driving force behind the identity, inspired by sparking curiosity around what is inside the museum and what actually makes up a human body.

Cue our designers getting to work creating a core logo made up of abstract organs, medical tools and bacterial blobs. 

The focus on guts (and gore!) was carried through each aspect of the identity, right down to the names of the brand colours.

We worked with photographer Alexander Hoyles to create a custom photo library that highlights visitors’ reactions to the exhibitions, featuring a range of people representing Thackray’s diverse audience.

The abstract shapes from the logo also informed a more casual illustration style for other brand touchpoints.

As Creative Concern helped them find their tone of voice, we developed a visual one to match. All these elements pulled together to build a picture of Thackray’s identity: colourful, varied, exciting and intriguing. 

We then put the brand to work as part of the launch campaign for the museum’s big reopening.  

One of the previous barriers to attendance was the lack of awareness of the museum’s brand. Despite being located right next to a hospital, many folk weren’t aware of the curiosities waiting to be discovered behind Thackray’s doors. 

So we made a splash with a launch campaign across Leeds, whilst making signage a priority for the brand. We used the abstract elements of the logo on the fences leading up to the building to intrigue visitors and passersby. 

Inside, visitors can navigate through the floors of fascination with our clear wayfinding system. And of course, stop off at the shop for suitably themed souvenirs!

Meanwhile, the Thackray team rolled out an extensive digital campaign. Using the social media templates and assets we provided, they built on the theme of unusual content that gets people talking.

The end result is a vivacious new identity that demands attention and perfectly embodies Thackray’s personality. With this new identity in hand, Thackray have successfully been shortlisted for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2021, and are intriguing (and grossing-out!) more visitors than ever.

“We were really pleased and impressed with O Street’s creative ideas and their ability to create an identity that everyone loves. The team worked hard to deliver what we needed and we’re grateful for the energy and effort they brought to the project”
— Laura Saxon, Thackray  Museum of Medicine