A Playful Rebrand


The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. The Strong serves diverse audiences locally, nationally, and internationally with the National Museum of Play, along with a number of sub-brands or “Play Partners”—National Toy Halls of Fame, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, Woodbury School, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, and American Journal of Play.

For a time, each of these Play Partners had its own highly visible individual brand. While this contributed to recognition for each entity, it also exponentially complicated the job of The Strong’s communications team. The decision was made to simplify ongoing brand management under the umbrella of The Strong, in collaboration with agency of record, Zimmet Group.

Our task was a fun one: communicate the playful mission of the institution in a brand platform that engages diverse audiences across varied channels.

The new brand launched to rave reviews from staff and the community.


The museum logo was transformed from one that was childlike to one that captures the full essence of The Strong’s brand. The simple, yet bold typography provides a strong visual impression while the changeable “o”bject keeps the focus on playful interaction while highlighting the institution’s collections.

The logo “o”bject is purposefully varied across all marketing and advertising pieces, bringing an element of playful interactivity to print. Letterheads and envelopes are mixed and matched. Note cards were created with a space for staff to draw their own “o”bject, adding another level of playfulness and personalization.

Redesign t-shirts worn by The Strong staff
Montage featuring various marketing collateral from The Strong.


Because the former logo had been in use since the early 2000s, it was important to quickly engage the full community with the rebrand.

After the logo was launched, a contest was run on Facebook encouraging people to submit their own ideas for new “o”bjects, making them direct contributors to the new brand. Submissions were provided from fans aged 2 to 67. Two designs were selected, refined, and added to The Strong’s growing “o”bject library.


A major step in evolving the brand was the introduction of a comprehensive new website to provide online users—an increasingly mobile audience—a full picture of the ways The Strong explores play.

Google Analytics were used to identify top content, top landing pages, and exit pages for the former, as well as the devices used most to access the website. Extensive benchmarking across museum, nonprofit, educational, and media industries revealed best practices for user interface, technology integration, information hierarchy, and managing content across various platforms.

The resulting website appeals to diverse audiences—families, educators, donors, collectors, scholars, researchers, and media—while highlighting museum collections, exhibits, and events. Information is prioritized in a way that is attractive and easy for each audience segment to engage in further exploration. And, of course, it reflects the museum’s updated brand.



American Marketing AssociationPinnacle Award Winner for Web Design