The art of rebranding
- Client:Mental Health Foundation
- Project:Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival rebrand
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is one of the largest of its kind (with over 300 events and audiences of 25,000) but the festival needed new branding that reflected the organisation they had evolved into. We developed clear strategic foundations, followed by a flexible and contemporary identity system with customised letterset, vibrant colour palette, bold graphics and supporting guidelines – all met with delight by the client.
Coming of age
Originally launched in 2007, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) has grown to be one of the country’s most diverse cultural events, challenging mental health stigma as part of a year-round programme of activities. The festival is one of the largest of its kind, featuring more than 300 events and attracting audiences of 25,000.
In all that time, SMHAF had never had a fully developed brand, and their logo had remained the same. They had been developing new creative for each year’s festival, which was a drain on already stretched resources and gave them no identity of their own.
A question of identity
SMHAF came to us to develop branding that reflected the more mature organisation they had evolved into – a rich ongoing programme of arts activities, as well as a vibrant annual arts festival. The visual identity had to be flexible enough to be refreshed every year across all marketing materials, but still retain a distinctive ownable look and feel. It also needed to be adaptable enough to create regional logo variants, and had to sit comfortably alongside parent charity the Mental Health Foundation.
First we carried out a brand workshop, taking the SMHAF team through a series of in-depth exercises and asking plenty of questions about their work and organisation to ensure everything we did would be grounded in authenticity.
Using the rich information gathered at the workshop, we developed their brand essence – five core pillars on which all their work was built (connected, inspiring, challenging, visionary, and authentic), and a positioning statement encompassing why they exist: Changing minds through art.
One of the key things to come out of the workshop and strategic development was how much SMHAF had come to be recognised as experts in their field on the global stage – this authority had to translate to the visual identity as well.
Building for the future
Our creative route was based on de/reconstruction, with a modular typographic system where letters are simplified, pulled apart, flipped, and even broken. Executed in a very considered and structured way, the type play lends an air of authority and ‘stamp’ of approval, while still communicating the diversity and challenging nature of the brand’s activities.
The type system was a customised font (based on Baron Neue by Frank Hemmekam) we developed exclusively for the project. Letterforms were literally deconstructed into supporting graphics, creating a contemporary, dynamic, and flexible visual language.
We recommended naming the year-round programme simply ‘Mental Health Arts’, and although the two logos are clearly part of the same brand, we used colour to set them apart. A simple muted palette fore Mental Health Arts, vibrant artistic colours for SMHAF.
We also created a set of brand guidelines and creative materials for regional partners, which included regional logo variants.
Meeting of minds
The client wholeheartedly loved the new brand. From the initial strategy work, we had shown we were on the same wavelength, and the partnership we developed ensured a smooth process from start to finish. We rolled out the new visual identity for the festival that year.
We’ve worked with Front Page for the past few years on our Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. During this time they led a rebrand of the festival which was incredibly well received by our audience and a great experience for us. They completely understood our vision and we were impressed by their creativity and sensitivity.
Gail AldamArts and Events ManagerMental Health Foundation