Adler Planetarium Rebrands – Celebrating its 90th Anniversary

The new brand identity is a culmination of a multi-year transformation to make science more accessible and includes a new logo and all brand touchpoints from website to out-of-home.

Ninety years in the making, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago is unveiling a new brand.

Developed and designed by branding partners, Pause for Thought and The Change Project, the new Adler identity is the culmination of a multi-year transformation aiming to make science more accessible to all citizens of the world.

Max Adler founded the Adler Planetarium in 1930 with the “hope that the youth of our city…. may find new interests and fresh inspiration and also that with the aid of the Planetarium, science may be advanced.”

When Michelle Larson took the helm as CEO in 2013, she took this vision to heart and made it her mission to supercharge the experience, and the enthusiasm the entire staff has for inspiring curiosity and connections to the sky. “We are an incubator for inclusive science. We spark curiosity because as humans, we all have a seat at the table.”

The updated brand promise and brand identity was a dream project for the branding partners. “Ryu Mizuno, vice president of marketing at the Adler, came to us with a true story of transformation,” notes Kelli Peterson, founder of The Change Project. “It’s one thing to say you want to connect your entire community to the sky and it’s another to have the ability to do it. The programming inside the Planetarium and deep into the Chicago neighborhoods is like no other.”

The Adler Planetarium’s new logo took cues from the sky in multiple ways. It now incorporates a warm yellow color — bright, cheerful, and optimistic, much like the Sun. “Early on in the process we established that the logo should not include the dome,” said Janice Pedley, creative director of Pause for Thought. “Although it’s an iconic building, the Adler’s mission is much bigger than the sky shows inside.” The Adler reaches millions through youth STEM programs, neighborhood skywatching events, online citizen science, and other outreach efforts. “We suggested this extensive programming reach could be expressed through the metaphor of an orbit of influence, with Adler at the center. The circular planet is propelled upwards with gravity assist, symbolizing how the Adler inspires people to ’reach for the stars.’”

The new visual identity gives a nod to the Adler’s historic collection that has been given new relevance and photography to showcase the human experience.


Illustration has a part too and in fact here, the whole Adler team jumped in. “We co-created the ‘Adlerverse’, a collection of hand drawn stars and doodles from the staff and volunteers that is now featured throughout the identity system,” adds Pedley, “With over a hundred submissions, the Adlerverse is an authentic expression of the whole organization and a celebration of the community.”

The Adler is now realizing Max Adler’s original vision by delivering science for everyone by everyone. 
Link to Photos

About Pause for Thought 
Pause for Thought is a New York-based branding agency that brings creativity and design principals to brands that value positive social change.

About The Change Project 
The Change Project is a San Francisco-based branding agency that blends the principles of design-thinking and innovation to fuel growth and drive revenue for brands with social impact.

About the Adler Planetarium 
The Adler Planetarium connects people to the Universe and each other. Whether it is introducing a guest to the Ring Nebula, a neighborhood school to a community partner, a research team to an army of citizen scientists, or one staff member to another, the Adler’s focus on meaningful connections dates back nearly a century.

Today, the museum hosts more than half a million visitors each year and reaches millions more through youth STEM programs, neighborhood skywatching events, online citizen science, and other outreach projects. With the Adler’s support, people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities gain the confidence to explore their Universe together and return to their communities ready to think critically and creatively about any challenge that comes their way.

Exterior banner for Adler Planetarium

We are an incubator for inclusive science. We spark curiosity because as humans, we all have a seat at the table.