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Free Arts NYC, a nonprofit organization that provides arts education to children affected by public school budget cuts, needed a dynamic logo and brand identity that serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, Free Arts had to be differentiated it from competitors with the breadth and depth of its cause easily understood at the outset. Another requirement: the brand ID would be the source of a continual revenue generating program, thereby lessening the organization’s dependency on its annual fundraiser event.
Informal research into the youth of various artists in design and related fields, from fashion, fine arts and to architecture uncovered a crucial insight. Education, both formal and informal, from mentors including parents, friends, and teachers, provided a fundamental anchor that is acknowledged as key for future success. Armed with such implicit support of Free Arts’ mission, we reached out to and enlisted 40-plus artists in the A to Z Project. Each participant contributed a unique design of a letter, figure or number. These create a bespoke alphabet, with a special story behind each character, that is the foundation of the Free Arts brand identity and ID.
The launch event and auction for the new look, sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar, raised $20,000 for Free Arts through the auction of original artworks as well as the sale of limited edition prints. This alone is enough to fun mentoring over 2 years for 10 children. The A to Z Project also garnered press coverage from consumer and trade publications including FastCompany, New York Magazine, GraphicDesign and Creative Review. And, via the FreeArts’ website consumers can purchase prints of the letters, symbols and numbers as well as mugs and assorted merchandise featuring the logo, thus providing an ongoing source of revenue for the organization.