True to the notion that the catalyst for brand examination is always a response to a significant moment of change within an organization, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) approached Otherwise after completing a strategic planning process with their board. Based upon the recommendations that emerged, CAC determined that after nearly 40 years of making strides for Chicago artists, they needed to reframe and refocus their brand to set the stage for future growth and success.
At the outset, we worked with the CAC leadership team to rethink their product and service architecture, simplifying the offerings into three distinctive categories: Professional Development, Outreach and Scaled Growth. The brand architecture paved the way for us to formulate brand messaging, which is rooted in an articulation of their essence. This new center of gravity, expressed through the statement: Celebrating the intersection of art and enterprise, provided a vital new focus for all CAC stakeholders, from the community of artists to funders to staff. From there, the brand messaging fell into place, rounded out by the tagline: Building a creative marketplace, reflecting our insight that the marriage of art and commerce is essential to sustaining the cultural ecosystem.
Propelled by the brand strategy, we then tackled a smart, flexible new visual identity system. The logo, with the three words in the name quartered off in a grid, leaves the bottom left corner open and adaptable. Geometric and bold, the logo creates a recognizable form with its own system of order, both recalibrating the viewer’s way of seeing and also allowing for sub-brands to fit snugly in.