A bit of the backstory

When I arrived at the Adler in 2011, the museum's design aesthetic was what you would expect from a space science museum—dark colors (mostly dark blue and black) and "futuristic" typography with shiny, metallic bevels. So many bevels.




Our design team set out to help define what the Adler experience was, and how we could represent that experience visually across a huge variety of channels.


Apollo penlight; Flash Gordon Comic; Milky Way infrared image; Adler Planetarium circa 1930.


Adler History
The planetarium itself is an iconic point of reference for the brand we established. The building's art deco architecture and famous zodiac plaques by Alfonso Iannelli provide inspiration for the line and form choices we make with respect to grid systems, typography, and illustration.

Science Fiction & Popular Culture
Sci-fi and pop culture shape how the public views space. We love the charm and excitement of comics, classic movies, and 1950s and 60s advertising. We took note of these media's bold use of type, and their stylized depictions of space environments and explorers.

Current Science
Space doesn't need to be depicted as a dark, black void. Our entire institutional color palette is inspired by our own galaxy—specifically, what our Milky Way looks like in the infrared spectrum through the Spitzer Space Telescope.



Type & Color

The Adler uses Brandon Text for the majority of copy in print and digital media assets. Brandon is inspired by 1920s and 1930s geometric sans serif type. It is sturdy, friendly, and familiar, with a bit of youthful warmth and charm. Other type, including hand-drawn or illustrative, is used sparingly in headlines. 

The updated color palette is vibrant and saturated. The color pairings are quirky and playful and, when combined with clever writing, this typography and color palette help emphasize the Adler's active, engaging voice.


Examples of type and color combinations from print and digital assets. 

The system in use

Videography and editing: Latoya Flowers / Animation: Melissa Szwan


Program logos

Many of the Adler's programs require their own unique branding for wider marketing and promotion. The main brand principles apply, but there's additional room to play. 



Celebrating Adler85

In 2015, the Adler Planetarium celebrated its 85th anniversary. To welcome in the new year, we released a commemorative Skywatcher's Guide inspired by our 1930s founding.


The Skywatcher's Guide featured a timeline of Adler events and key moments in space exploration history.

Brand building takes an army 

Special thanks to Melissa Szwan, my fellow designer at the Adler Planetarium, who has worked tirelessly to flesh out this visual brand with me.