The Mellon Foundation Unveils New Visual Identity
(NEW YORK, NY — March 28, 2022) Today, the Mellon Foundation launched a new visual identity, including a flexible and dynamic logomark, color palette and sonic elements. Led by Eddie Opara, a partner in the New York office of renowned design consultancy Pentagram, and developed in concert with a refreshed brand framework rooted in the Foundation’s updated strategy, the new look expresses Mellon’s continued focus on the arts and humanities while embracing the centrality of social justice in the Foundation’s grantmaking.
“Artists, scholars, and other cultural visionaries shape our collective understanding of who we are, help us make sense of challenging times, and drive us to imagine a more beautiful, more just future,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation. “Our new identity makes visible, memorable, and accessible not only the remarkable creativity of our grantees in the arts, culture, and humanities, but also a Foundation that has become bold, directional, and deeply connected to the vital efforts of justice work.”
Through a rigorous and collaborative process, the newly launched identity—which includes shortening the organization’s name to Mellon Foundation for most uses—brings communicative depth and clarity about the work the Foundation and its grantees do, all the while embodying Mellon’s core values. The logomark itself reflects the gestural quality of a hand drawn letter “m”. It is both immediately recognizable and ever-changing, with inherent flexibility in both form and material: it can shift its tactile qualities while also gently moving within its fundamental shape. It is a logomark for our quickly evolving and innovative times, embracing in its very form the multivocality of our grantees, our nation, and our world.
The new color palette supporting this logomark and logotype is adaptive, reflecting and foregrounding our grantees as we continue to highlight their work. This flexible form and adaptive color palette, coupled with contemporary typefaces derived by the human hand—one designed by the first American Black type designer, the other conceived by a Chilean type foundry—ambitiously proposes a much more energetic and dynamic approach to representing Mellon’s work and its grantees.
Rounding out the identity system is a short sonic element, created by Yuri Suzuki in Pentagram’s London studio, inspired by Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E Minor—the first symphony composed by a woman of color to be played by a major American orchestra. Taken together, this new look and feel for the Foundation embodies the grantee-first, beauty-seeking, justice orientation of its arts and humanities grantmaking.
“It has been an honor to work on such a prestigious and emphatic transformation of the Mellon Foundation that expresses and reinforces its values through aesthetics, purpose, and responsibility,” said Eddie Opara, partner at Pentagram. “The visual identity resonates by being encouraging and nurturing, memorable and distinctive, and underscores authenticity.”
These changes and design elements in our public face express the Mellon Foundation’s unique perspective and the work we do, the powerful dynamism of our grantees, and the importance of all the arts and humanities to articulate what it means to be human, to produce knowledge, to be joyfully and creatively alive, in a more just future.