Based in Belfast in Northern Ireland, Young at Art is a nonprofit dedicated to providing access to exciting and original creative experiences to every child and promotes “child-inspired work by professional artists with an emphasis on performance and exhibition content over participatory activities.” One of its most well-known efforts is the annual Belfast Children’s Festival, which has been going on since 1998. In November Young at Art introduced a new identity designed by Belfast-based Paperjam who were also responsible for this year’s Festival identity, celebrated earlier this month.
The charity previously housed 3 brands under one umbrella, Young at Art as a charity, Young at Art Events and the Belfast Children’s festival. The brand was fragmented and losing the potential for promotion and marketing of the charity as well as the opportunity to blend target audiences. They wanted to create one visual identity to encompass all three brands identifying all events and festivals as Young at Art endeavors.
The 3 dimensional Y symbol came from the idea of merging the 3 main parts of the company as well as showing the depth of work that Young at Art do. This solitary Y simplified all the various names and words in the three brands, into one stand out symbol.
With the Y as the core of the new brand we added one bright colour and a set of patterns that formed the overall look and feel of the brand. The patterns and colours are exchangeable to enable Young at Art to devise a new look for events and festivals year on year without changing the core of the brand.
The previous logo was fine, ITC Lubalin Graph is always a safe choice. It’s hard to tell if the wobbliness was on purpose or the result of a crappy JPG but I do believe it’s the former as the previous Belfast Children’s Festival logo followed suit. Either way, the logo, in that font, could be for anything or anyone. There was nothing unique about it. The new logo is unique out the wazoo (in a good way) with a big, blocky, extruded, wireframe “Y” that gets filled with a bevy of patterns and a bright orange, black, and white color palette. The combined elements, particularly in application, give the organization an unmistakable, energetic, and youthful presence. The new wordmark is set in Brandon Grotesque which, like its predecessor, is a comfortable choice that plays well along with the “Y” and patterns.
It’s a great testament to the identity that it can almost look formal in a stationery setting, allowing those pieces to help adults raise money and communicate with other adults while clearly representing an organization devoted to arts and children but without coming across as childish. The patterns behind the black and white portraits is a great way to extend the identity. (The same technique is used in the posters lower in the post to unify disparate artist-provided images).
The new branding look and feel had been launched in November 2014 so the visual identity of the charity had been receiving exposure for 6 months and [Belfast Children’s Festival 2015] was unmistakably a Young at Art enterprise.
The colours and logo had been carried through into every aspect of this event with the Y from their logo being brought to life various creative ways. The staff and volunteers were all dressed in brand t-shirts, and merchandise had been created to produce goody bags.
The Festival identity turns up the volume on the vibrancy and visual loudness of the elements, with large “Y”s, lots of orange, and a relentless use of the patterns — even the program (which you can see here along with other images) is unforgiving in its backgrounds. The posters look so great with the different patterns and the orange block holding the logo ties them all nicely together. Plus, party hats! And furry “Y”s! Overall, both organization redesign and festival application portray a vibrant and fun attitude for the nonprofit and its intended audience.