City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Seattle's arts office unveils new logo and brand
5/20/2013  3:00:00 PM

Seattle's arts office unveils new logo and brand
Getting out of the business of 'affairs' and into 'making art work'

SEATTLE — Today the city of Seattle's arts agency announced a new brand and identity system that includes a shortening of the official name to the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (previously Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs). The rebranding heralds a new era for the office and modernizes its visual identity. A new tagline, "Making Art Work," hints at the office's new tone, while explaining the work of the agency: to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture.

"This move comes at a significant time for us. It's the 40th anniversary of our public art program, and we've just committed new resources to ensure that our partnership on arts education with Seattle Schools will be successful," said newly appointed Director Randy Engstrom. "At the same time we're hiring a new position in cultural facilities that will move our work forward for cultural space. We've got a lot of forward momentum and want to be able to proudly put our stamp on our work."

he new logo features the clean lines of "A & C" for Arts and Culture with an embossed "C" evoking forward movement. The logo is frequently presented at small dimensions on partner-produced collateral, so a mark that is easy to recognize at small scale was essential. Reducing the elements of the previous logo to the basic A & C makes the new logo simple, efficient and elevated.

"This new expression of our organizational identity and the recent appointment of Randy Engstrom as the permanent director of the Office of Arts & Culture signals a new era for the arts office in our city. Seattleites can expect many exciting developments in the future," said Seattle Arts Commission (SAC) co-chair Fidelma McGinn, who also chairs SAC's Community Development and Outreach Committee.

The goal of the branding project was to modernize the logo and bring the look and feel of the organization up to the standards of the work of the Office. The agency recently surveyed the arts community regarding the work of the office, staff and commissioners. With more than 650 responses, the feedback was clear: respondents felt the profile of the office was low and that relevancy was unclear. It was apparent that rebranding was in order.

The Office selected local agency Civilization for the project because of their unique combination of work with government agencies along with arts and culture organizations, and their belief that design is a means of social change.

"The challenge in creating the mark for the Office of Arts & Culture was to find a visual solution that would represent the office's function, spirit and future. We focused on refining the concepts to achieve a clear and dynamic mark that will be distinct across many applications," said Civilization principal Michael Ellsworth.

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