• Transform magazine
  • April 04, 2020

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The Arts Society rebrands with timeless aesthetic

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According to the Creative Industries website, in 2015 the UK’s cultural organisations contributed £27bn to the economy and created 642,000 sector jobs. This follows a general trend of growth in the arts and heritage sector – a feat perhaps unsurprising given the rich pool of history and talent with which the UK is gifted. To recognise this, in 1968 the Chiltern Antiques Group was created to provide a platform for (then) young women to show appreciation of the UK’s numerous arts and heritage outputs. Over 50 years, the group has expanded and developed into educational charity The Arts Society. It recently unveiled a strategic and visual rebrand, carried out by Jane Wentworth Associates (JWA) and Studio Sutherl& respectively.

The Arts Society aims to keep aflame passion for UK arts, with lectures series and volunteering programmes. Yet, despite its current 90,000 members and 385 associated societies, the society felt the initial impetus for joining had been lost and a new offering needed to be created. Having been known, until May 2017, as the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS), The Arts Society’s new brand position aims to detaches the organisation from its previously elitist image and provide inspiration for people looking to be involved in arts education.

With The Arts Society’s new brand position as a global network, engaging a new, diverse membership is key to future success. In developing a new brand strategy, independent brand consultancy JWA communicates the importance of a collaborative artistic community, bound together through a mutual love for the UK arts scene. This involved uniting The Arts Society brand architecture from its previously disparate identities. Previously united only through a similar blue colour palette, the charity is now an accessible brand with a flexible application, while retaining a common identifier in its logotype.

Furthermore, since the strategy behind the previous NADFAS brand was unchanged since 1968, an inflexible, somewhat unfriendly aesthetic had become inherent to the charity’s identity. by including the ‘society,’ the organisation highlights its desire to create emotional and meaningful engagement with both new and existing members. Jo Marsh, director at Jane Wentworth Associates, says, “As one global brand and community, the society can influence the arts by inspiring all generations.”

“The new brand will support their ambition and we’re confident it will increase awareness and ensure they are more influential and more inclusive.”

To support JWA’s strategy and reinforce The Arts Society’s new position as an inclusive and global organisation, London-based design studio Studio Sutherl& developed the organisation’s new visual assets. Purple was chosen as the lead colour, a bold choice which complements a monogram developed from an entwined ‘A’ and ‘S.’ This lends a contemporary yet timeless aesthetic to The Arts Society brand; the result is impactful, suggesting the society is ready to enter a new era of its lifetime.

Jim Sutherland, founder at Studio Sutherland and associate of JWA, says, “The monogram is a simple iteration of connecting the arts to society. It’s a traditional crafted mark used in a bold and modern way with stunning visual arts imagery.”

Florian Schweizer, chief executive at The Arts Society, says, “Our strength is our people – joined together by a passion for the arts. We want to be the most inclusive and influential arts society. The brand development work with JWA will help us create a clearer positioning, which will help us enhance our reputation and better promote the arts locally, nationally and globally. This process has given us a sense of pride and will help us regain our seat at the top table.”

With funding for UK arts and heritage undergoing substantial cuts over the past few years, The Arts Society hopes its rebrand will strengthen the charity’s position in lobbying the government and securing future funding for the sector.

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Promotional The Arts Society poster

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Previous NADFAS brand identity