SECCA Opts for Logo on the Go

By Mash Bonigala

SECCA, also known as the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, is a North Carolina art museum that is in many ways unique. Most significantly, the institution has no permanent collection, but instead borrows artwork for their exhibits and returns it when the exhibition is over. When it came time to redesign the SECCA logo to match the newly remodeled buildings, it was obvious that a new logo needed to portray in some way this most unusual aspect of the museum.

The old logo was certainly not a good representative of this institution. First, it is a little confusing, especially for a logo that is at first glance quite simple. Not only are two different thicknesses of type used, but two completely different fonts. The small wording below attempts to tie the two typefaces together by using them again, with the bolder lettering enclosed in a period-like circle this time. The black and white is modern and stark, but perhaps a little too stark and generic. In fact, it is unwisely similar to the logo design of many similar institutions.

The new logo design is inspired by the constant flux of exhibits at SECCA. This logo literally moves and changes every time you look at it. The letters, which are ultra simple and—thank heaven—in the same typeface and thickness, move slightly in animations of the logo design. When seen in non-animated media such as signs, the letters are varying degrees apart, which gives a sense of movement even on the flat page. The tall, narrow simplicity of the lettering gives a modern feeling without overcomplicating this simple yet completely original motif.

While the colors are commonly seen in graphic art, they are nonetheless appropriate here, with varying leafy shades of green complimented by a cool, businesslike gray. This is significant because the museum wanted a sense of living art. Green is a modern color that is nonetheless associated with life and growth, giving yet another relevant and positive undertone to this logo design.

Designing a logo that works in animation is nothing new—consider the logo for Brand Sydney with its dizzying array of concentric circles turning about. However, the truly unique aspect of the SECCA logo design is that the meaning of its movement can be seen even in still versions of the logo. Moreover, the logo works equally well whether moving or still—a real accomplishment, and one that has not to our knowledge been pulled off successfully before.

With animated logos becoming more and more common, you may be wondering if one is right for your company. In general, there is no need to complicate a logo design unnecessarily, so devices such as these should be avoided unless it fits the brand completely. However, as this logo shows, moving logos can be created that are attractive both in print and on the move. If you are interested in this or any other type of logo design, talk to a professional logo designer today.