The Whitney’s New Logo: Designers Watching Too Much “King of the Hill”? Or Not Enough?

whitney-identity-640The Whitney Museum of American Art unveiled its new brand identity redesign on Tuesday, and it is already provoking online design chatter, including the interesting Hyperallergic article yesterday. The Amsterdam-based design firm Experimental Jetset explains their use of what they call the “responsive W”:

But even more than the letter W, we think the line also represents a pulse, a beat – the heartbeat of New York, of the USA. It shows the Whitney as an institute that is breathing (in and out), an institute that is open and closed at the same time. An institute that goes back and forth between the past and the future, moving from one opposite to the other (history and present, the ‘Old World’ and the ‘New World’, between the industrial and the sublime, etc.), while still moving forward.

The firm displays the many possible permutations of the logo on their site. But the basic design looks suspiciously familiar to southerners. For more than six decades, folks from Arizona to Florida have been eating at the beloved Texas-based burger chain Whataburger, often in buildings architecturally designed to mimic the logo itself. The restaurant was introduced to outsiders through occasional references on the animated sitcom series King of the Hill.

BigWThe Whitney’s new logo, even its sleek minimalist version of the responsive W, is enough to induce immediate cravings in many southerners.

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4 responses to “The Whitney’s New Logo: Designers Watching Too Much “King of the Hill”? Or Not Enough?”

  1. Wow. The emperor is not wearing any clothes and somebody should have said something a long time ago.

  2. Ah, yes. The ubiquitous Whataburger logo. Designed by Frank Stella in the 1950’s and copied ever since.

  3. Breaking news: My brother just sent me a link to another possible source for the new logo: http://www.complex.com/art-design/2013/05/whitney-museum-logo-redesign-channels-homer-simpson

  4. Love it! IT’S A “W”!….Whataburger uses virtually the same logo and it’s a fast-food burger joint! So let’s compare Experimental Jetset’s verbiage of the “Responsive W” to Whataburger: 1) after eating at Whataburger, you hope for a pulse and a [heart] beat; 2) Whataburger opens and closes – that’s kinda like breathing; and 3) it’s between the industrial and the sublime–a burger industry but yet ever so sublime before the guilt sets in. So, I guess Whataburger could use the same reasoning for their logo in order to move forward into the 21st century. McDonald’s “Golden Arches” logo? — An up-side-down W. I shiver at the thought of that comparison.

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