Anatomy Of An Unexpe-( Spec )-ted Brand Redesign
A For Adventure has been lucky enough to work with ART 180, an incredible Richmond non-profit, since 2000. During a series of strategic work sessions with us in 2013, the ART 180 staff mentioned that it had been many years since their stationery system was updated, and we offered to pitch in on the redesign.
As we began our initial research stage, we realized we did not have a working version of the ART 180 logo. Instead of bothering them for a file, we decided to build a rough, stand-in logo, to be replaced later with the original when we were ready to build our presentation. Our revelation came when our stand-in exposed opportunities beyond the original.
The current ART 180 logo was designed by a wonderfully talented Richmond artist, Anne Chamblin, in 1998. Anne used her background in painting and printmaking to hand-carve a potato print; the scan of that original stamp is still in use today. The ART 180 logo is literally a one of a kind impression – a piece of art and a moment in time. The scanned logo captures the unique textures created by Anne's carving and the surface of the potato.
We love Anne's logo. It has so many qualities of a great mark; elegant, recognizable, contextual and relevant. Our more stylistically refined stand-in, however, revealed the original might lack a property critical to the ART 180 brand – the freedom of individual expression. The ART 180 logo is frozen – it can't be redrawn, spray painted, lit up in neon nor welded onto steel. It is fixed like amber in it's original execution – that one, fateful stamp.
In the spirit of rejuvenation, we chose fresh and current typefaces with whimsy and presence.
In keeping with a recurring theme at A For Adventure, our color palette recommendation is bold, optimistic, and unexpected.
The mark travels well into mobile, stationary, and any other possible canvas.
"it's like having your mechanic buy you a new car instead of repairing your old one..."
At the end of the day, an unexpected rebrand is one of the last things any company wants to see from their agency. Rebrands can be expensive, but more importantly, they play on emotional connections and attachments the staff and the public have created with the brand.
I'd bet it's like having your mechanic buy you a new car instead of repairing your old one... regardless, ART 180 politely passed on this redesign for now, but did get to enjoy the rare chance to look in the mirror and reimagine themselves, even if only for a few minutes in an otherwise mundane series of meetings.