The Houston Aquarium is the city’s leading underwater adventure destination and aquatic learning center, and is committed to instilling a sense of curiosity and passion for marine life and the ocean environments they call home. Through conservation leadership and transformative educational programming, the Aquarium is dedicated to safeguarding the wonders of the ocean for Houston’s communities for generations to come.

For over two decades the existing Houston Aquarium has focused primarily on entertainment and amusement. The proposed rebrand positions the Houston Aquarium as a community leader in coastal preservation and conservation transparency. The Aquarium’s updated branding leans heavily into the conceptual ideas of transparency, utilizing it to craft assets like the dynamic trademark and in the materials used for the Aquarium’s environmental graphics.

Project Roles:
  • Completed as a solo project

  • Graphis New Talent / 2023 / International
    Silver (Branding Design)
  • National Student Showcase / 2023 / National
    Finalist (Branding Design)

The proposed dynamic trademark gives the Aquarium a modernized update to bolster the brand’s positioning as a trusted leader and resource in innovation and climate education. Two transparent waves overlap to form 9 unique compositions used for the brand’s dynamic trademark, with an inconspicuous dorsal fin in the negative space of each variation as a nod to the Aquarium’s playful personality and commitment to curiosity. 
A type pairing of Fat Frank Heavy and Transat Text are used for establishing a sense of expertise and confidence, all while leaving room for playful experimentation and exploration.

Three distinct shades of blues define the Aquarium’s primary color palette to allow for a sense of depth in the brand’s identity. This same treatment was given to a secondary set of daring reds and earthy greens to balance out the overall palette.

A simplified fish pattern was created to emphasize the Aquarium’s values for community and environmental stewardship.

The Aquarium’s physical space was also updated to reflect the brand’s core values and contemporary approach.
 Branded colored acrylic plays a primary role in the Aquarium’s environmental design as a material representation of the brand’s transparency, and to inject a sense of wonder as visitors navigate throughout the exhibits. A series of branded icons were designed for each of the Aquarium’s attractions and facilities for improved accessibility and wayfinding.

PROJECT TAKEAWAYS:This project is one of my first full brand systems that I’ve enjoyed watching evolve over time as I’ve revisited it a few different times for various design purposes and challenges over time. It taught me that no design project is ever completely over, and that revisiting old projects can spur new (and sometimes unearth old!) ideas that I can tap into for my work. It was also the project that taught me how to design graphics for an identity system that could be used to leverage the brand’s positioning in an impactful way, and how to communicate those ideas in a more strategic and conceptual way.WITH MORE TIME AND RESOURCES:
I would really like to explore more print and analog touch points for the Houston Aquarium, as well as strengthen the brand’s digital and social presence. I see plenty of potential for additional deliverables like exhibit and community outreach brochures, an updated aquarium map, and more motion for digital pieces. I would be interested in exploring more how the brand communicates directly with their target audiences, and explore how that could further influence the overall art direction and position of the brand.