The Athenaeum of Philadelphia • Autumn 2021

Nurturing Curiosity


In 2021 I joined Catchafire, the US based volunteering platform. I was delighted to be matched with The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The initial brief was to help The Athenaeum  (founded in 1814) by providing consistency and coherence to their visual identity with a branding guide. To deliver any brand guidelines document effectively, both the client and designer need to fully understand the brand. So we set about crafting a few pieces of print collateral, then we were able to unlock the treasures that come together to represent The Athenaeum today. Photo below of The Athenaeum Reading Room.


The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, USA


Athenaeum of Philadelphia image


Help this historic American institution promote its vision and values to reach a wider audience.


The centre of The Athenaeum crest features the ancient Greek goddess Athena, who is associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare. As part of my research I visited the Temple of Athena (situated in Troy, Turkey), which dates from the 2nd century BC. Carefully refining the crest was the first step, to increasing the legibility of the brand – especially online and across its social channels. The resulting Athenaeum crest is cleaner and more flexible in its application.

Original crest

Athenaeum of Philadelphia old Athenaeum of Philadelphia logo

refined crest


Oswald Bold is used for Athenaeum headings and key brand information. Oswald is a reworking of the classic style historically represented by the ‘Alternate Gothic’ sans serif typefaces. The characters were initially re-drawn and reformed to better fit the pixel grid of standard digital screens. 

Work Sans is a typeface family based loosely on early Grotesques, which was used for Athenaeum body copy. The Regular weight and others in the middle of the family are optimised for on-screen text usage at medium sizes and can also be used in print design.

Crest Gold
Pantone 157
Pantone 7530
Blue Walls
Pantone 644
Pantone 2159
Pantone 2159
Rare Books
Pantone 2027
Athenaeum badge gold
Athenaeum badges
Athenaeum badge blue
Athenaeum Bookmarks
Athenaeum Bookmarks
Athenaeum Welcome Brochure

“Jonathan helped us with a new branding guide and collateral to reflect the new brand. Highest quality, great communication. He is a gem.”

Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The grid structures used are based upon the geometric Italianate Revival style architecture.

Athenaeum Nurturing
Athenaeum Curiosity

“We loved his work so much that we have hired him for some other projects and look forward to continued work with him.”

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Working from either my Bodrum studio or back in the UK, Garlic provides clients with a full stack of graphic design services and ongoing support. Use the form below to request a virtual meeting or a WhatsApp call. 

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