Helsinki City Museum

The Helsinki City Museum is the world’s only museum focusing on Helsinki. Personal experiences and everyday life of people in Helsinki are highlighted and reflected in the museum’s items and photographs. A candy wrapper, a squeaky steel spring bed and a photo of a suburb home yard are precious treasures in the museum.

The Helsinki City Museum was not really well known so when it moved into a brand new space at the oldest part downtown Helsinki a golden opportunity for rebranding opened up.

The Helsinki City Museum is “an emotionally charged free entry museum” with main focus is on personal experiences and normal everyday life in Helsinki. New museum space consists of 2400 sqm of exhibitions, public spaces, cafe, inner yards, relaxing areas and conference rooms.

Museum’s vision for 2018 “Everyone has the opportunity to fall in love with Helsinki” was taken as the starting point for the new identity.


Identity was built on real historical fragments from Helsinki. The design process was carried out in tight cooperation with the client.

Old everyday print material from museum collections (tram tickets, brochures, newspapers, wrappers, adverts) were used as a base for visual narrative. Visuality was then further transformed into a set of custom typefaces and colors that have a true and authentic connection to Helsinki and life in the city.

New mark for Helsinki City Museum visualizes openess (as it is only a frame) and embodies museums vision “Everyone has the opportunity to fall in love with Helsinki”.

The museum was relatively unknown so a bolder visual approach was needed. Visual elements were used in big size with considerable emphasis on typography and new mark. Messages were kept simple and strong. Repetition was used in order to built visual recognizability and brand awareness.

The new mark became established fast due to its simplicity. As said by Tove Vesterbacka from Helsinki City Museum: “The logo is so strong and simple that even a five year old can draw it, we’ve tested it!”


Visual identity was extended to all customer touchpoints including museum interiors, infographics, digital applications and advertising. Interiors were designed with interior architecture office Kakadu. New Museum website and digital touchpoints were designed with digital agency Byroo.

The Museum’s unique atmosphere can be felt immediately in the lobby, dominated by outsized carved wooden animals by artist Jasmin Anoschkin, odd furniture and a 15m-long ‘timeline’ sofa.

An extensive outdoor advertising campaign was carried out in order to support the opening of the new museum. Call-to-actions and messages were kept simple and fitting to surroundings.

The relaunch of the Helsinki City Museum has been a great success. More than 200,000 people visited the museum during the first four months after opening. This meant that the visitor target for the whole year was exceeded in only four months.

The new Helsinki City Museum gained a lot of attention both in domestic and international media. It was mentioned by such media as CNN and Wallpaper* and by numerous travel and architecture blogs.

The Helsinki City Museum has been nominated for New European Museum of the Year 2016. The other candidates in the category are Tate Modern Switch House in London and Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, Netherlands.

All branding by Werklig. Images by Angel Gil and Helsinki City Museum.

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