Tacoma Art Museum

Client: Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington Design Team: Principal: Kristine Matthews / Project Lead: Cassie Klingler / Designers: Frances Nelson, Beth Grim / Fabricator: Berry Signs Photos: William Wright, Max Cleary + Katy Lester

Tacoma Art Museum almost doubled their exhibition space with an expansive new wing of Western Art, and commissioned Studio Matthews to create new signage and wayfinding inside and out. Our material palette references both the original building – Antoine Predock’s modernist silver box – and the new wing by Olson Kundig Architects, clad in deep brown Richlite, an industrial material fabricated locally. As our signage and wayfinding concepts came together, we were also awarded the opportunity to re-brand the Museum. The iconic “TAM red” remains, and surfaces as a pop of color throughout the sign scheme. See more on our re-brand of Tacoma Art Museum here.

“Studio Matthews brought an elegant and experienced eye to the communications and signage project. We greatly appreciated their creativity as well as personal engagement with the project. Their sensitivity to cost and future maintenance were an added bonus.”

— Stephanie Stebich, Director


Winner, Professional Notable Award, 2015 Core77 Design Awards
Winner, Merit Award, 2017 SEGD Global Design Awards

SEGD Jury Comments:
“It’s hard to not like the bold simplicity of TAM’s wayfinding and identity. Go ahead. Try to dislike this thing and see where it gets you. No really, go for it. Give up yet? Yes, I thought so. Big, bold, stenciled letters and tastefully placed messaging and signage win again.”

“The wayfinding, font design, and signage design at TAM do a wonderful job of complementing the modern aesthetic of the building. There are an elegant harmony and consistency across all components. This defines the space and allows, when appropriate in the case of promotional moments, to highlight the artwork.”