In 2004, we initiated a project to re-brand and graphically unify Vizcaya and its affiliate entities, including The Vizcayans, the Vizcaya Volunteer Guides, and the Vizcaya Café & Shop. Each had its own logo, and graphic standards were non-existent.
At the same time, we are proud of our public ownership and operation by Miami-Dade County and wanted to be sure that our branding reflected this relationship. As such, we routinely include the County’s logo in our materials and we embraced its preferred Optima font as our standard for communications.
For nearly a decade, our new family of logos has served us well.
At the outset of the design process, we conducted an informal survey, asking the public what elements, symbols and colors they most associated with Vizcaya. With the professional services of graphic designers Peter and Belkiss Roman (then principals of inkbyte Design), we then met with volunteers and staff from our various entities and discussed how to design a logo that would communicate “Vizcaya” to the world, including those who had no prior knowledge of the estate.
We quickly agreed that a simplified representation of the Main House was essential to our identity, and so this became the anchor. And in the spirit of what evolved into the “Big Idea” of our educational messaging, we stressed the importance of Vizcaya’s subtropical bayfront setting to our identity. Inkbyte seized on the uniqueness of Stirling Calder’s extraordinary Barge and established it as the foundation in the foreground of our logo, employing palm trees on either side and gently rippling waves below as contextual framing devices.
Blue has always been prominent at Vizcaya and the two shades selected seemed to reference the Main House’s awnings, its watery setting, and the bright Miami sky. The elegant Serlio font is as close as possible to established treatment of the word “Vizcaya,” while the non-historic additions of our institutional program, “Museum and Gardens,” are represented in the simpler Optima.
At that time we established a family of logos for our close affiliates and we have promoted the Vizcaya brand quite obsessively from letterhead to merchandise in the Café & Shop. Most recently, through the generous support of Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan, we designed handsome branded shields for our security personnel and acquired a lifetime supply of patches for frontline staff with varied responsibilities.
Vizcaya’s branding continues to evolve as we work with STIR Communications on updates to our graphic standards and new products, such as our new website design. STIR is responsible for introducing the lace-like patterns that appear in many of our materials. These are meant to evoke—in an almost subliminal way—the tapestry of art and plants at Vizcaya.