Branding, Social Media Strategy + Content Creation, Website Design, Posters, Invites, Merchandise
EXPOZED Exhibit is a recurring contemporary art show in Toronto, with the purpose of showcasing works from the city’s up-and-coming talent.
August 2018 marked the launch of this exhibit series.
I was asked to develop a brand identity as well as a series of promotional materials across print and digital. The identity needed to be simple enough to be easily replicated for subsequent events to follow. The goal was for the identity to unify these events under one brand, while also to allowing distinguishment between them.
The central theme of the exhibit is the notion of “breaking free”—out of comfort zones and into unknown territory. Whether this is in relation to artistic styles, or to sharing work with a wider audience for the first time, the exhibit’s purpose is to be a platform for nurturing young talent and new beginnings.
The logo concept came to me relatively quickly. Inspired by one of the pieces in the collection, I chose a bold, heavy typeface to signify the confidence and fearlessness of the participants. Afterwards, I experimented with different techniques to represent the “laying bare” theme of the brand. I reached the point of satisfaction once I drew a shutter effect over the words, meant to allude to the notion of “hiding” or the slight sense of hesitation and anxiety many of us feel before moving forward in a new direction. This logo concept also represents the element of surprise attendants can expect from interacting with works from novel artistic talent.
I developed a very simple, high-contrast colour palette that would allow for easy customization with each subsequent event. The two base neutrals are stark white and bold black, which make up the bare bones of the default colour scheme (especially for the logo), along with one bold accent colour for each related event. This will allow for easy differentiation between each subsequent exhibit. Each accent colour needs to be bold and fully saturated in order to completely marry into the theme. The accent colour chosen for the inaugural event was CMYK yellow.
Given that there was a low budget allocated for marketing efforts, I developed a simplified strategy that relied heavily on traditional word-of-mouth marketing techniques.
The initial phase was to be carried out primarily digitally through the distribution of engaging visual content on Instagram to introduce the audience to the exhibit concept, works, and behind-the-scenes efforts. I encouraged the creators to engage with accounts that reflected their target audience. This was followed by the development of a contest requiring participants to follow the exhibit’s Instagram, sign up for the mailing list, and tag a minimum of 3 friends. The winner was awarded one of the exhibit’s works.
Once the social following had grown a bit, I provided the client with a list of local event directories and other art events and encouraged them to submit their event details to the directories as well as hand out invites and place posters around the city and near the other art events to generate awareness.
Given that this project was for an art exhibit and thus highly visual, in terms of social media platforms, I chose to only develop an Instagram account.
When creating social media content, I adopted collage-type compositions for two reasons. The first was to channel the intention behind the exhibit, which is of experimentation and exploration, and the second was to resonate with the millennial target audience, as the collage style is experiencing a trendy moment across social media platforms.
I created 36 posts for the exhibit’s timeline, using images of the artwork and the artists’ behind-the-scenes processes. Each image connected to others around it to create a larger composition.
Another key aspect of the timeline design was that each image contained all of the exhibit’s information regarding location, date and time so that each individual post could stand alone as its own promotional flyer that could easily be shared across social media, while still supporting the overall design.
I created a few stop motion videos formatted specifically for Instagram’s Story feature, following the same design philosophy and aesthetic as the grid.
EXPOZED Exhibit’s minimal yet bold website design remains consistent with the brand aesthetic. Only displaying essential information, it contains just 3 pages—a home page with the logo and a video about the event, an about page with information about the exhibit and its creators, and a simple contact page with email and social media links. The design is responsive across all screen sizes.
The promotional print materials maintained the minimal and bold approach of the identity, as their main purpose was to communicate information about time, place and contact, and I did not want to distract from that by overwhelming the design with additional elements.
So that the understated design of the posters would not go unnoticed, I decided a good way to grab attention would be to increase the scale, making them really, really big.
For the design of the invitations, I went in exactly the opposite direction. Many invitations I’ve come across are usually a standard rectangular postcard size. I wanted to make these more memorable by shrinking them down to a less common square shape. The design was also intended to keep costs low for the client since this size allowed for multiple invites to be printed on a single sheet of cardstock.
In order to provide guests with a tangible memento of the experience, the client and I decided on making simple t-shirts printed with a vector graphics inspired by some of the artwork.
This was one of the most successful aspects of the campaign, generating a significant amount of sales. The shirts sold out!