Monterey Bay Aquarium Logo


UPDATE 02.22.23: Correspondence from MBA CEO, Julie Packard via Abbott Miller about the logo design:

… the logo was definitely designed by Richard Graef of Ace Design. Ace was a subcontractor to Fred Usher so perhaps that’s why Pentagram was confused.

Fred was wonderful and led the team, but Richard was definitely the graphic designer – did the logo and all the building signage (the square grey panels). Richard and his partner John – Ace Design was name of their group -   also did a lot of studies and work on the 3 dimensional design of the major galleries, eg the KFT. Lots of models and mock -ups were part of that process. Richard continued as a graphic designer, did work for the Cleveland Botanical Garden, CAS and other projects that our project managers Rhodes/Dahl went off to do once MBA opened. Here’s a bit about Richard:

That logo is timeless and classic – just like our building. Our one instruction to Richard was it can’t be blue and it can’t be fish or waves – too boring and like everyone else. I later caved to allowing it to be blue just because the kelp color was problematic for different applications. Main thing is this: Who else can say their logo is on peoples’ bodies as a tattoo because it’s so beautiful? I’ll be excited to see how we can iterate on new ways to bring it alive and make it more useful for all the applications we see coming.


From Louise Sandhaus, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936-1986, pp. 66-67

This elegant two-color graphic rendering of “the growing tip of a giant kelp frond” was a particular favorite of Usher’s; however, the aquarium ended up using a one-color version.