ACCA building

In October 2002, ACCA (The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) moved to a new location in Melbourne’s Southbank Arts Precinct. Designed by architects Wood Marsh, the red monolith fulfils a long-held desire in Melbourne for a sophisticated space for contemporary art, offering artistic and intellectual scope.

Our task was to develop a complete visual language for ACCA. The new identity needed to capture what ACCA stands for and represent the spirit of the new building. We set about making the the graphic language comprehensive, but continuously flexible, allowing for the changes from show to show. We created a number of elements within the language so that they could be recontextualised depending on the application, eg. Extrusion from the ground for signage and introduction of new typefaces within a grid system composed of line and spaces to create a sense of continiuum. The design eschews a singular mark. Instead, it brings together a number of elements representing the dynamics of the art inside, as well as the feel of the building.

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

ACCA brand identity design

More from Fabio Ongarato.


January 28, 2011


I like how clean it is, but I’m missing the tie in to architecture. The letter-forms remind me of digital moreso than what they are being used for. I’m also confused about the placement of the full name being left justified with the “a” from “acca” but ragged right.

I don’t really like this to be honest, I feel the colour scheme is too neon, and seems like a desperate attempt to be youthful. As a youth myself, it doesn’t work well for me, and looks like a too sickly green.

The typeface too, doesn’t seem to work well, I think lowercase logotypes are getting old fast, and it doesn’t have a real impact. If its a centre for contemporary arts, the type should be a bit bold, and should be loud, and contemporary looking.

The typeface that has been created looks very much like ‘OCR A Extended’.

Also this image doesn’t work too well in my opinion, I’ve seen the ‘type placed unusually over an image’ style before, and that seems to work well only with clear, bold fonts (eg. Helvetica Neue Bold), but bright green and a space age font? I think it looks terrible like that.

I feel that this identity that’s been designed hasn’t worked so well, and doesn’t appeal to me. Some elements are good, but I personally have a negative view towards this one.

Sorry to the designer and anyone who thinks otherwise about the design. That’s just my opinion.

My thoughts go with Louis’ on this one. There is something about this design that evokes such adjectives and phrases like: ‘inappropriate’ and ‘there’s something missing here’.

My first impression, based on the image showed on the main site, was that it has something to do with the technical branch. Boy was I honestly surprised. One could say it has to do with trends and how they have set our minds to expect certain patterns and I agree: to some degree they do. Even though, my senses are still screaming: it’s missing the target!

I will not comment on the stationery work because I have little experience in this field, but my overall impression is that it was well designed.

What caught my attention (just like Louises’) was the colour choice and the letter form. Green seems a bit off, as it follows the tech industry along with the logotype, or perhaps it is just a tad too bright?
The type visible in the brochure (or catalogue) seems way off proportions. The glyphs image shows us that some letters have two sizes, while some are only either thin or wide. Why is that? For example, the ‘u’ and ‘n’, being twice less narrow than the other letters, express a solid feeling of imbalance. I read ‘gillian wearing’, but the picture to the left – ‘ugo rondinone’? – was harder to decipher, probably because of the colour as well.

Perhaps the designer’s thoughts went with the ‘contemporary’ part of the name, I don’t know… It appears to be too inconsistent as a whole.

To be honest I am not too keen on this identity. The typography is very similar to a lot of “digital” free fonts out there and does not really represent contemporary arts. Overall the identity is clean but just lacks that something special to set it apart from just being a typeface.

I think the logo needed to be simple, un-complicated and strong to represent the architecture of the building it represents. A lot of logos don’t have such an immediate link with the organisation they’re designed for.

The translation of the brand to stationery works, however I can see a similarities with the promotional material and the stuff Haunch of Venison use ( or to see examples).

But nothing is original anymore – for every brand created there’s bound to 3/4 other brands that are similar in some way, unfortunately.

… ‘ The new identity needed to capture what ACCA stands for and represent the spirit of the new building… ‘

So why didn’t the design follow through on the theory? – I don’t see any spirit in this job + the color doesn’t work for me – The look
extends nicely in the poster / info applications + the pattern is nice, but…

I’ll echo the others and say I’m not a fan of this. The architecture is wonderful, but the identity does little to “represent the spirit of the new building” as it seems completely different, from the typograpy to the colour. Hmm…

Gotta agree with the rest of the group. The logotype and overall identity has a very digital/techy feel to it. The color too. It certainly doesn’t represent the contemporary arts the way they might have intended. I think they could have done a lot more with this identity.

I have got to disagree with most of the comments here.

I think this identity works, and works really well.

I can see the visual link between the logo and the building, both are minimal, and have sharp straight lines throughout.

I don’t have a problem with the green, in fact I thinks it’s nice. I see the colour as being quite flexible though, it could easily change to red, or any other colour and still keep its integrity as a brand.

I think the posters with type placed on them look great! They have given the centre an easy-to-follow structure. Over time the layout of these posters alone will become easily recognisable as that of the centre — even if the logo didn’t appear on them. I don’t think Helvetica is quite contemporary enough for this client.

Just my opinion, but I think they achieved everything they set out to achieve. A contemporary minimal brand for a contemporary minimal building. Job well done!

I disagree with you all (except milo). In this case the aesthetic reminds me a bit more of a well designed rave flier than an art museum, but I do not think that is a problem. A lot of modern museums are having live DJ’s at art openings and turning them into a bit of a dance party anyway.

This is a “contemporary” museum and I this feels contemporary. It allows for the photography of the art to be a major component. The color choice is succesful for a contemporary instatution as neons are very “in” right now. Plus it can all be dont in 1 color saving the museum money. The posters could be pulled off in 2 colors.

Where I think it falls a bit short is when you remove the photography. The ACCA logotype does not have enough character unto itself. To be fair, it does fulfill all other logo requirments, reduces well, faxes, works in one color, etc…

I agree that it does not reflect the architecture, but perhaps the client did not want a very obvious connection.

This may not be the most original identity I have ever seen, but I do think it is a succesful one.

I like this, but it doesn’t ‘excite’ me when I look at it like some identity designs do.

I would possibly agree that there is something about it’s youthfulness is forced maybe? Or perhaps it’s that it is ‘old style’ youthfulness. Perhaps it’s a few years of date in my mind.

I do feel that the stationery has been completed very well.

Not sure about this one, great booklet/programme, but really don’t like the typeface, too rounded, extended and not balanced enough to reflect a modern look. I feel that it lets down the look and feel, and after a few years will look outdated.

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