About
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Sonja Knips, 1898. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.
In Brief
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversees two unique museums - the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park - and stands as one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States. We worked with their team to create Insights, an immersive digital platform that showcases their permanent collections and special exhibitions.
Insights
Client
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Strategy
Brand Strategy
Content Strategy
Naming
Design
UI/UX Design
Identity System &
Guidelines
Creative Direction
Motion Design
Services
Strategy

We worked closely with FAMSF to translate the in-person museum experience into this interactive, digital space. We interviewed incredible people across the institution and collaborated in workshops to find new ways to celebrate the breadth and diversity of their collections. Out of this process emerged a clear need to give the platform an identity of its own.

Naming

We began by selecting a name that could represent the initiative and encourage visitors to discover more. Carefully crafted to leave room for interpretation, Insights captures the spirit of what can be seen both on the surface and upon deeper reflection. With context and a closer look, what might appear simple at face value becomes complex. Something new emerges. Something insightful appears from something in sight.

Branding

The aesthetic needed to reflect two vastly different museums and the collections of art within them, while maintaining a level of tonal and visual consistency. To do this, we selected two elegant font families and used color to build plenty of flexibility into the system. In the end, we delivered extensive brand guidelines that now support exhibitions ranging from Mexico’s geological wonders to the French impressionist movement, and even the Summer of Love.

A core pillar of our approach was to treat the art as the hero.

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1906. The Art Institute of Chicago.
Paul Gauguin, Reclining Tahitian Women, 1894. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.
Building for Expansion

Every element of Insights was built for extensibility, allowing the platform to grow and change as the museums’ collections evolve. We created a robust component gallery that each emphasized different elements of the art. While some offered deep historical context, others brought users in close to look at the details of the artwork. Used together, this toolkit allows the curators to customize the pace and structure of the story they develop; arranging the components one way, they might tell one story, but rearranged another way visitors see something completely different.

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Ria Munk III, 1917. The Lewis Collection.
Seamless Exploration

The Insights platform is designed to allow for varying levels of depth. At the highest level, we created the storytelling hub, which provides a birds-eye view of all of the Insights stories. Within each story, we then created a hierarchy that could allow for exploration within a cohesive narrative structure. And finally, for those who are looking for even more, we developed a gallery where visitors could discover related works and resources.

Handheld Experiences

Insights is meant to be a valuable resource for any visitor, whether you’re miles away or in line for the exhibition. To ensure that it added value to the in-person experience, we took the time to consider the mobile experience upfront and every step of the way.

Gustav Klimt, The Virgin, 1913. Národní galerie Praha.