Alexandria Black History Museum

A logo showcases the powerful narratives of black history using a flexible framing device.

Alexandria Black History Museum interprets African American history in Alexandria and the state of Virginia through exhibits, artifacts, art displays, and community events. The museum also manages the Alexandria African American Heritage Park, which preserves the site of a nineteenth century black cemetery, and the Watson Reading Room, a non-circulating library of videos, documents, and periodicals on black life and culture.

The museum is partially housed in the historic Robert Robinson Library building. The city built the library in 1940 in response to a 1939 sit-in, when five young black men protested the lack of educational opportunity for black citizens by reading in the segregated Queen Street Library.

The logo is surrounded by a frame that sets off the words “Black Story.” For some, “History” suggests something over and done. But “Story” suggests something vibrant, evolving, deeply human, and endless: a narrative as significant and influential to the present and future as it is to the past.

The frame can be expanded to include text, photos, and other imagery to showcase the narratives of black history. Like the museum, the logo brings into focus the most important aspects of black identity and culture. The frame allows a multitude of individual and unique African American experiences to shine through.

With roots in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the typefaces are intentionally contemporary in style to the events that the museum depicts. They were selected for their character, personality, and thoughtful and interesting typographic details.

The color palette uses red sparingly to convey energy, excitement, and passion, as well as the emotional quality of the museum’s content. It is paired with a palette of contemplative earth tones that provide variety and a cool contrast to the fiery red. Their more subtle hues suggest heritage, history, and the reflective nature of the museum. In every color combination, the logo appears in either black or white for a straightforward, bold approach.

Brand manual excerpts