News / Graphic Design

Studio Sutherl& rebrands UK’s largest arts education charity, The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& has designed the new identity for NADFAS, the UK’s largest arts education charity, which has been renamed The Arts Society. Working with Jane Wentworth Associates (JWA), the agency commissioned to revamp the organisation’s brand strategy, Studio Sutherland looked to make the “opaque” and “stuffy” branding more accessible, and connect the charity with all sorts of people across the arts.

“When we came across NADFAS it has this bland acronym, so the first thing we did was work with JWA on renaming,” says Jim Sutherland, founder of the design studio. “The aim was to make the organisation more open, transparent and understandable, so the name The Arts Society says what they do. We then tried to carry this simplicity through the branding, and bring a bit more beauty back into it.”

The identity is based around a monogram that uses the initials A and S combined. “We needed to herald the name,” Jim says. “The icon before was an acanthus leaf, a badly drawn one, which isn’t a great idea for an arts organisation! The new monogram isn’t rocket science, but it graphically represents the joining of the words in a strong, simple marque. It’s easy for local societies to stick in the corner of marketing material, and it works on posters, bags, and all that, alongside all types of artwork, from medieval to Warhol.”

The monogram uses redrawn characters from Plantin, “a beautiful and classic font”. During the project, Jim says he visited the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, where he was inspired by some of the type specimens. The name, meanwhile, is set in Gotham, which “has always felt like a modern classic”, so used together create a brand Jim hopes is timeless, reflecting both the traditional and contemporary arts.

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society

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Studio Sutherl& and JWA: The Arts Society