San Francisco-based design and branding studio Manual has created a new identity for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) inspired by the geographical location of the site and the concept of expansion and contraction. “The twofold goal of the identity is to position YBCA as a leading-edge art institution – vibrant, active, vital, energetic – and communicate the organisation’s belief that culture is a catalyst for social change,” say the designers.
The new logo is a black hexagon that expands and contracts to frame information and images, appearing as an outline or a solid stamp. Two condensed sans serifed typefaces used across the identity translate across the wide range of scales that the identity is used. Coupled with a broad colour palette and, in the case of posters and printed materials patterns and gradients, the fundamental elements of the identity are used to create a diverse range of materials underpinned by a simple execution of a concept.
The YBCA was founded in 1993 and is known as one of the most innovative contemporary arts centres in the US. “There was a general lack of awareness around their vision and dedication to redefining what an art center can and should be,” says Manual. “This was at the core of the creative challenge we were asked to help solve through creating a new identity and communications strategy.” The studio was commissioned in 2015 and consulted each department within the organisation to clearly understand its role and aims. The new identity is implemented across signage, exhibition graphics, brochures, posters, outdoor advertising, identity guidelines, and a new website created in partnership with Bureau for Visual Affairs.