Established in 1993 by two writers, Jeff Fligelman and David Grae, Gotham Writers’ Workshop (now just Gotham Writers) is one of the largest adult-education writing schools in the country offering 10-week workshop classes in every conceivable writing method, from fiction to memoir to poetry to screenwriting, taught by professional writers. To complement its offering, Gotham Writers has online classes and a couple of how-to books, Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide and Writing Movies, plus Fiction Gallery, an anthology of pieces written by students. Earlier this year, the organization began rolling out a new identity designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Hyperakt.
After conducting in-depth research and workshops we arrived at the essence of Gotham Writers Workshop’s brand: “craft igniting creativity.” We repositioned the name of the brand from Gotham Writer’s Workshop to Gotham Writers, a shift that better represents the school’s community of writers and promotes a sense of belonging. We created a brand language that expresses itself as a harmonious balance between the vibrant muddle of the writing process and the sharp precision of a finely crafted piece. The tone of the imagery is introspective, thoughtful and intimate — evoking the perfect environment for creative writing.
Gotham Writers’ new mark says more with less. The interlocking “G” and “W” reveal the tip of a pencil, suggesting the craft and meditation at the heart of good writing. The emblem projects the confidence and maturity of an institution that has been honing its craft for 20 years. The geometric purity of the forms are an homage to the art deco heritage of the city we call Gotham — New York City.
The previous logo was brutally bad with the loosely-tracked, centered, condensed serif crowned by an extended GWW in an ellipse — not really the stuff that writing careers are built upon. The new logo, by contrast, has the look and feel of a storied guild, with its interlocking monogram and subtle secret: a pencil tip in the intersection of the “G” and “W”. I have to admit that it took me a couple of minutes to understand why the middle of the “W” was filled in but once I did it was the dorkiest thrill I’ve had all week. (I do realize it’s only Tuesday). A pencil may not be what first comes to mind when thinking of writers or the process of writing anything longer than a postcard but it’s still the quickest way of jotting down thoughts as they come along. The monogram is simple and elegant, pairing nicely with House Industries’ Neutraface. The new logo succeeds both in shortening the name and introducing a more simple identifier in the monogram.
Against the precision of the monogram we contrast the inherent vibrancy of the creative process with myriad handwriting styles that reflect the unique voice of each writer. The brand includes highlighter marks to illuminate key ideas, alluding to the process of editing and iterating involved in perfecting a well-crafted piece of writing.
Gotham Writers is best known around New York for the bright yellow boxes that stand on street corners all over town and contain the school’s quarterly course catalog. We revamped the monochrome catalogue into a colorful newsprint magazine appealing to pedestrians. Besides up-to-date class information, lush photography and expressive illustration, the new publication also features the original voices of students and teachers in the community — the Gotham Writers.
In application there is the addition of the handwritten elements, which look fairly cool and add a dash of energy and rawness to the otherwise straightforward typography and layouts — they are a fun element and it pairs particularly well with the secondary type selection of Eames Century Modern. The big, moody photos, blue and yellow color palette, and lovely typography all around give Gotham Writers a mature yet youthful vibe that makes it look like a veritable source of writing knowledge.