Love & Sex & Museums? Base Design Rebrands NYC’s Museum of Sex

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It’s the month of love and Base Design is at it again. The New York firm (with offices in Brussels and Geneva) recently paired up with the NYC Museum of Sex for a rebranding that challenges misconceptions and stands out in the crowded New York museum scene.

New York City’s Museum of Sex

The Museum of Sex, founded in 2002 by Dan Gluck, started without much of a guide. This didn’t stop it from stealing the scene with its inaugural exhibit NYCSEX: How New York Transformed Sex in America. The exposition took a deep look into the subcultures of NYC’s past and present—including Robert Mapplethorpe’s death from HIV/AIDS to Margaret Sanger‘s fight to legalize birth control in America. For thirteen years, Gluck and his ten newly formed a board of advisors kept their heads down, working to make the Museum of Sex what it is today.


Base Design Rebrands

Partner & Creative Director: Min Lew

Design Director: Dan Peterson

Designers: Ethan Sung, Wael Morcos

Fast forward to Base Design’s involvement. It’s 2016 and the Museum of Sex has grown into a compelling body of work with a modern yet sophisticated feel. The only thing missing was a brand to match. A brand that could communicate “the depth and variety of their programming, views art, fashion, history, science and more, through the lens of sex.”

Min Lew, Base Design’s Creative and Managing Director explains the museum as “a creative breeding ground for those who seek a deeper understanding of sexuality.” With this in mind, her team began working on a brand that would show off the museum’s multi-faceted culture, while naming it a must-see for locals and visitors alike.

Lew and her team created a brand that showcases the museum’s exploratory environment. “The new visual identity aims to express…the importance of those conversations found within the museum for the public,” adds Lew.


Original images by Base for the branding campaign

The bold sans serif text stands out as a symbol demanding the attention of its viewers. The type alone alludes to the strength of the words it displays: “Museum of Sex.” One could compare the power of this choice to the impact of a stop sign—it all but forces passers-by to halt and soak in what is in front of them.

The brand only becomes stronger when used in poster form. The words create a frame in which images related to the history, science and culture of sex are held. Photographs and illustrations of lips, skin, sex and phallic symbols generate conversation without being overtly crude, gently nudging onlookers to explore their curiosity and enter the building.

Overcoming misconceptions and pushing the boundaries has always been a part of Base Design’s work. And with the New York Museum of Sex, they were able to do just that. The museum’s website boasts that future exhibits and events “are guaranteed to captivate and resonate, securing the Museum of Sex a well-deserved, distinguished place in history.” With a brand now as intriguing as the content within, the museum will only grow in recognition and esteem.


Above: Original images by Base for the branding campaign


Above (including GIF): Concept images from the collection of the Museum of Sex and, Keith Haring, Rich Simmons, lernert and sander, Irina Vorotyntseva, Joe Ovelman, Bompas and Parr, Martin Shkreli to show how the branding could be used in various applications


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