Saffron’s new identity for Oklahoma Contemporary

Saffron has created new branding for US arts centre Oklahoma Contemporary, formerly known as the City Arts Center.

Oklahoma Contemporary materials

The rebrand marks the centre’s move to a new site in 2014, and looks to increase the centre’s profile as a cultural destination, according to Saffron.

The new visual identity uses Gotham lettering in a grid formation, aiming to convey the centre’s personality while also showcasing the artworks it houses.

Oklahoma Contemporary materials

Nick Sims, designer at Saffron, says, ‘It’s a strongly typographic route. When you’re working with an arts centre they have a lot of interesting visual things already. You have to create a system that’s quite flexible – when you want it to be a bit more shouty you can, or you can let the art speak for itself.’

He adds, ‘The gridded letter let the identity interact with the artworks and connects the visual elements together, so it all interacts and connects.’

Oklahoma Contemporary materials

The branding is based on the ‘Creative Connections’ concept, which aims to position the centre as a place ‘connecting the local community with contemporary art, connecting art with the individual, and hosting the conventional alongside the unfamiliar’, says Saffron.

Sahil Sachdev, Saffron senior strategist, says, ‘The strategic idea had to take into account the kind of art institution they are, and the role they play in showing art exhibitions that challenge and inform, but also encourage people to engage with art on their own terms.

Oklahoma Contemporary materials

‘People can view the art and then take lessons in how to emulate the style, and the Creative Connections idea spoke to that ethos of getting people to engage with art in every sense.’

The identity will be shown across all the centre’s printed and online communications, as well as wayfinding and signage, including the new museum building due for completion in 2014.

Oklahoma Contemporary materials
Oklahoma Contemporary materials

Mary Ann Prior, Oklahoma Contemporary executive director, says, ‘Our ambition is to create an art centre where everyone can engage with art on their own terms, one where those who want to learn and create are given the tools and opportunities to do so at their own pace. 

‘The re-launch of the Oklahoma Contemporary brand is a key part of our vision to form creative connections with our community.’

Oklahoma Contemporary materials
Oklahoma Contemporary materials

The consultancy was brought in to the project in late 2011 without a pitch, following a recommendation from another client. All design work was carried out from Saffron’s London studio.

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