'Three' Exhibition Identity

'Three' Exhibition Identity
Designed for Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, 2014

I was invited to create an identity for Dovecot Studios' 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition. The exhibition consisted of three parts: Tumadh: Immersion by the artists Dalziel + Scullion, as part of 'Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland'; Dazzle a selling show of contemporary jewellery; and Current Exchanges an exhibition about Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop. The exhibition ran from 1 August – 13 September.

The Brief
The brief was to create an overall identity that linked all three exhibitions together. The identity needed to be attractive and vibrant, working across different media and at different scales, online and in print: invitations, leaflets, posters, and banners. Unlike my previous identity for Dovecot, Follow the Thread, there was no over-riding theme or even a collective name for the trio of exhibitions.

A second part of the brief looked at the problems of wayfinding within Dovecot Studios and I was asked to devise a map that would help visitors find their way around the complex spaces, which are arranged over several floors, and direct visitors to the three exhibitions. A recurring problem had been that visitors did not understand the layout of the building and were often missing some of the exhibitions on offer.

A third part was to design exhibition graphics: information boards, vinyl wall texts and graphics, and labels.

Development of Identity
I developed the identity in collaboration with the staff at Dovecot. After several conversations with the team about possible design approaches for the project, I proposed the idea of 'three' being both the theme and unofficial title of the exhibition. Each exhibition would be given a number which would appear on posters and other printed information, on the walls of Dovecot at the entrance to each space, and also on a map, locating these spaces within Dovecot. If the idea of three exhibitions was established before visitors even arrived at the gallery, then it should be clearer that there were three exhibitions to visit.

I presented various design options using numerals from different typefaces but the team agreed with me that the most striking solution was to use numerals from the Stencil typeface. The Stencil numerals looked especially appealing at a large scale where the small details of their characters were revealed.

After further refining of the identity, again in collaboration with the team at Dovecot Studios, I assembled a ‘kit of parts’ that I felt confident could be used in different ways across the many parts of the brief.

Invitation Cards
Once the identity was established, the most pressing item to be designed was the invitation card, as this needed to be mailed out in advance of the opening of the exhibition. The numeral three was very striking on its own but the gallery felt that it needed some colour, and should also give a taster of the exhibitions: I added three circles with details of works from the three shows alongside the numeral, creating a very strong and recognisable identity for the exhibition that could be carried through to other items. The card was printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Zen Pure White 350gsm, 210 x 148mm, with a double-hit UV spot varnish on the three numeral and on the three exhibition images. As with the Follow the Thread invitation cards, the gallery were happy to pay a little bit extra for a quality eye-catching product that would communicate the values of the organisation.

The design of the cover of the leaflet was developed from the design of the invitation card; to accommodate the narrow format, the three logo was dramatically cropped so that most of the numeral was visible but the circles containing images were cut in half – I selected images that would still be clear and understandable when cropped. To meet the budget, the leaflet was printed on a far more economical paper than the invitation card and without the UV spot varnish. It was printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Revive 100 Offset 150gsm, full colour, 210 x 297mm, letter folded to 210 x 99mm, 12 pages. Printed in an edition of 5,000, the leaflet was distributed both in Edinburgh and further afield.

An important part of the leaflet was the map that appeared on the reverse. Using an expanded plan of Dovecot as a starting point, I drew a revised version of the plan and overlaid it with numerals representing the location of the three exhibitions along with instructions that began with a playful 'START HERE'. Brief instructions on how to reach the different spaces in Dovecot were printed next to the numerals – for these instructions, I asked the information desk staff to email me the directions they would give to visitors if they were asked the locations of the spaces.

The banners were produced by McRobb in Edinburgh, and were hung outside of Dovecot and on the corner of Chambers Street and Nicholson Street, close to Talbot Rice Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland. As with the Follow the Thread banners, I decided that a white background was the best option to stand out from the dark stone of that particular area of Edinburgh. The vertical format of the banners, necessitated an even more dramatic crop than on the leaflet: the three numeral became the dominant element, with the Dovecot logo taking second place; the titles of the three exhibitions became the third part of the hierarchy of information. I think this made a very striking and effective banner, which hopefully piqued viewers' interest to visit Dovecot.

Posters were produced at two different sizes, A1 and A3, as well as a six-sheet poster that appeared on bus stops in various locations across Edinburgh; the six-sheet posters were designed to Clear Channel’s specifications, at quarter size, 300 x 450 mm, with finished posters printed at 1200 x 1800 mm. I designed four different poster designs: a generic poster based on the invitation and leaflet design, that included all three exhibitions alongside three posters that highlighted the individual exhibitions with full bleed images and large numerals.

Press Advertisements
The poster design was reformatted for some press advertisements that appeared in Aesthetica magazine and Scottish Galleries magazine. The advertisements show how the different elements, the ‘kit of parts’ could be successfully reassembled in different formats for different media, whilst maintaining a consistent identity.

Exhibition Graphics
I worked closely with Kate Grenyer, Exhibitions Coordinator at Dovecot Studios on the graphics for the three exhibitions. On the leaflet I had developed a colour coding for the three exhibitions: grey for Tumadh: Immersion; turquoise for Dazzle and orange for Current Exchanges. These coloured circles containing numerals became the signposts for exhibitions within the building, produced as laser-cut vinyl wall graphics; they were supplemented with further vinyl wall graphics that included arrows to point people in the right direction.

I designed labels for individual exhibits: as with the rest of the printed material, they were typeset in Akzidenz Grotesk in various weights and sizes. The labels for Current Exchanges were highlighted in the same orange as on the map; this colour was also used for the large vinyl wall graphic that announced the exhibition. The vinyls and labels were produced by Forrest Hepburn & McDonald Signs, Edinburgh.

Click here to find out more about exhibitions at Dovecot




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