Form creates branding for Royal Academy arts season

London’s Royal Academy of Arts is shaking up its image with a new season of cutting-edge visual culture, branded by graphic design consultancy Form.

GSK Contemporary is a three-month season of exhibitions and events geared to a ‘young urbanite’ audience and opens to the public on 31 October.

Form was appointed in April, following a three-way pitch – for which it was paid a small fee – to devise a new visual brand for the RA’s latest venture.

Form creative director Paula Benson says the design brief was to develop a logo and visual scheme that could help the RA diversify its audience, as well as attract a younger crowd.

The consultancy has created a series of angled words and phrases in fluorescent colours on a black background, to communicate the various art forms and activities taking place, and make the design ‘generic and eye-catching’, says Benson.

The words ‘GSK Contemporary’ are incorporated into the design, but also work separately to become a standalone logo. The group has taken an unusual approach in not using images of particular artworks within the identity, to keep it fresh and energetic.

Flexibility was also central to the design concept, says Benson, who was careful to create something that could be rolled out across a variety of outdoor, online and print media.

The RA will use the GSK brand style over the next three years and will adapt it in-house for each season’s programme.

GSK Contemporary will house an Art Bar and Flash, a pop-up restaurant created by the founders of east London’s popular Bistroteque, in a bid to broaden the reach of the traditional art gallery.

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