• Bill McCool

Want to Show That Your Organization is a Support System for Artists? You're Gonna Need Some Brackets



What do Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Billy Porter, Josh Groban, Anna Gunn, Andrew Rannells, and Judith Hill have in common?

Nope, not the latest series you need to binge on your streamer of choice, though that would probably make for a hell of a show. They were all identified by the arts competition National YoungArts Foundation at an early age, where they received professional and creative support throughout their emerging careers. And it’s not just for the theater kids either—it also cultivates young writers and visual artists.



The organization also just shortened its name to YoungArts and received a new identity courtesy of Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram.



The new YoungArts logo drills down into what every artist needs at such an early stage in their creative life—support. Scher and company do this by framing the logo in a set of brackets, and it's a clearly identifiable motif they work into the rest of the identity. By doing this, they celebrate what’s so special about YoungArts to begin with, finding talent that needs to be nourished and accepted by the creative community where they will receive the assistance they need to help them kick start their career. It also makes for a pretty effective framing device across social channels and other visual assets, giving them a distinctive bit of flair for their branding. The wordmark also utilizes the typeface Degular, which features curvatures and letterforms that closely resemble the bracket’s structure and shape.


“We are excited to share the new creative identity that Paula Scher and the team at Pentagram have helped develop for YoungArts,” said the organization’s executive director Jewel Malone in a press release. “Anniversaries are occasions to reflect, celebrate and most importantly commit to the future. As YoungArts looks back at our first 40 years, we see the extraordinary artists we are proud to call YoungArts award winners and opportunities to do more for each and every one. The past year has brought into focus how important, and yet how economically vulnerable, artists are in the U.S., and we are working to ensure that all award winners can continue to rely on us for support and opportunities to advance their careers.”



“The identity reflects the unique nurturing aspect of YoungArts. The symbol of the brackets instantly conveys the organization’s role as a support system for artists. It was the happiest of all possible solutions––both recognizable and meaningful at the same time,” added Paula Scher in the same press release. “It positions YoungArts as being pivotal in building the foundations of an artist and their lifelong career––unlike any other arts foundation.”


Now, with a new visual identity in place, the arts organization might finally consider accepting me and my magnum opus, a ten-hour song cycle about the greatest John Travolta movie ever committed to film, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, 1983’s Sylvester Stallone-directed Staying Alive. It’s got some real pizzaz, I tell you, and I could use some brackets.





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