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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.

 

Artistic Triangle Threesome

Reviewed Mar. 1, 2011 by Armin

Industry / Culture Tags /

NEA Logo, Before and After

Established in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government by the United States Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants funds that “support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.” To date it has provided over $4 billion, funding over 130,000 grants. A little over a year ago, the NEA came under the scrutiny of the design industry when it launched a $25,000-contest, accompanied by a hefty 28-page RFP that asked for speculative work, to “represent the phrase ‘art works’ in a single image.” The mantra of NEA Chairman, Rocco Landesman, “Art Works” has three meanings: “the works of art themselves, the ways art works on audiences, and art as work.” This month, the NEA has launched Art Works as what seems like a hybrid of awareness campaign and new logo. The Art Works identity has been created by Hoon Kim, principal of New York-based Why Not Smile who was selected as the winner of the contest.

The triple triangles are designed to represent the bold and memorable white ground letters A and W in all forms of communication. The process of recognizing the letters represents bridging the gap between Art Works and the audience.

The symbol is a metaphor for the three purposes of Art Works: 1. Works by Artist, 2. Art works on audiences, 3. Art workers.
Identity Guidelines [PDF]

NEA

The grid behind the logo and typography. People: That’s how you lock it up!

NEA

Color variations based on famous works of art.

NEA

NEA

Black and white versions. One big, and one small with less circles, lines and dots for proper reduction.

NEA

Name-only version.

I will take an educated guess and, well, guess that this will be a highly debated identity, not just because of how it came to be, but the final result. “It’s just three triangles, a monkey can do that” or something to that effect is sure to come along somewhere. It’s just three triangles, yes, but they are really good triangles. There is a reason and concept behind, there is a strict graphic structure to it, and it’s simple and bold. I’m not a fan of the of primary-color approach and would love to see the extended color palette be used more. My favorite aspect of this is the black-and-white version that, instead of just doing a grayscale or all-black, uses texture to denote the three different triangles. Even better and demonstrating that there was a thinking graphic designer behind this, there is a version for small sizes that has more white space between all the circles, lines, and dots to avoid becoming a squished fly when reduced.

Whether this sticks as the logo for the NEA in the long run remains to be seen, but for the time being, I’ll take these three rogue triangles over whatever the old logo was. Certainly, I wouldn’t be a responsible blogger if I didn’t instigate a little: does the end justify the means?

Thanks to Mike Wachs for the tip.

 

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