Jennifer Whitehead
Oct 19, 2017 · 5 min read

The V&A logo was created by Alan Fletcher in 1989 and today the logo is instantly recognisable as the sign of one of the world’s leading museums of art and design. Fletcher created the logo for his own company, Pentagram and is one of the most memorable designs of his. The logo can be seen on posters, books, information leaflets and magazines and is the face of the museum.

Alan fletcher was born in Kenya in 1931 to a British family, who later moved back to Britain in 1936. He spent his student years in post-world war two Britain, studying at Hammersmith school of art before leaving there and studying at three other different art schools. After this period, he moved to America, where he studied at Yale University. The US was a better fit for Fletcher as he wanted to get away from the dreariness of London. The influence of America can be seen in his work as he incorporated the growing American pop culture but also mixed in the traditional European style to his work. At this time most of the graphic designers in Britain were still just using black and white in their designs. However, in America, bright and bold colours were used often by graphic designers which Fletcher was influenced by and stared using these vibrant and exciting colours in his work.

In the early sixties he moved back London and started a design company, which would later be called Pentagram. When he came back from America he also brought back the bold and vibrant American style which then changed the way other graphic designers in Britain looked at colour in their work.

Alan Fetchers design “Beware Wet Paint”

Throughout his carrier Fletcher designed many well renowned pieces of work such as the “beware wet paint” book cover and the Reuters logo. Alan Fletcher was overall a very inspirational graphic designer and changed the way graphic design is looked at in Britain and the rest of Europe. His inspirational work is also the reason the was called the “grandfather of design”.

The Victoria and Albert museum is one if the world’s leading art and design museums and also has obtained over two million pieces in its permanent collection. It was established in 1857 and later named the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899. The majority of the pieces at the V&A Museum have national Status. These prised collections include a wide rage of art mediums which include photography, fashion, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, woodwork and many more .

Tipoo’s Tiger 1790

One of the most popular exhibits is Tipoo’s tiger. It is a wooden sculpture made around 1790 which shows a tiger attacking a European soldier. It was made for Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in India and what is the most interesting about the piece is the mechanical organ inside the figure that replicates the growling of the tiger and the soldier’s moans. The Museum also owns the first photograph of London which was taken in 1839 and was also the first museum to collect and display photography as art in 1853. The museum has many historical important pieces and this is one of the the reasons for its world renowned success.

For such a historically important museum that celebrates art and design it needed a logo that was instantly recognizable and communicated what the museum was about. The V&A wanted its own brand which is the public face and represents the character of the museum that many people will associate the museum with. The design of the log is very simplistic but it is also very effective in its intent. The logo allows V&A to have an identity as it is very identifiable and unique. The typeface that is used gives a sophisticated and elegant feel to the overall design which reflects the museums overall image. The letters themselves were designed two hundred years ago by Gianbattista Bodoni in Parma. This is perhaps a suggestion of the museums historical importance and also the importance to know the history of design. However, Fletcher decided to remove one of the legs on the “A”. This allows the design to look more original but it is still eligible and bold. The V&A logo is regraded as one of the most iconic designs of the 20th century and one of Alan Fletchers best works. I think that the design captures the essence of the museum and gives allows the museum to maintain their unique image. I also think that the design is very successful which may be one of th reason for t he success of the museum.

V&A logo for its 150th Anniversary

On the 150th anniversary of the museum the logo got an update to celebrate the huge milestone that the V&A have had. The new design aimed to celebrate the historical importance of the museum and bring a fresh new feel. Since Alan Fletchers logo was recognised by many as the brand of the museum, his design was still incorporated into the new design. New imagery has been placed around the original lettering of the design, golden outlines of ornate flowers. The flowers are connected to the lettering and this created a good text and image relationship and allows for the lettering to be the main focus. This allows viewers to still make the connection to the museum with the new logo. The golden colour refers to the importance and celebration of the anniversary and still embraces the sophistication and elegance of the original. Overall the new logo still represents Fletchers original work but it is also a design to celebrate the museums achievements throughout 150 years.

Overall this logo is very effective as it captures the essence of the Victoria and Albert museum. Alan Fletcher has designed something which shows elegance and sophistication while also managing to reflect the museums reputation. The success of the design can be seen as it can be found on many different advertisements and information booklets which shows the importance of the identity that V&A has that this design helped create.

FGD1 The Archive

An Archive of Graphic Design by Year 1 Graphic Design Students at Edinburgh Napier University

Jennifer Whitehead

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FGD1 The Archive

An Archive of Graphic Design by Year 1 Graphic Design Students at Edinburgh Napier University

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