We worked with YBCA on their brand identity, positioning and marketing collateral for five years, seeing them through the triumphant “Beautiful Losers” opening party, to the celebrated ‘Big Ideas’ initiative. The project unearthed numerous challenges along the way, but a dedicated and passionate team made negotiating them as rewarding as it was fun.
Within California’s growing contemporary arts scene, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts had established itself as an inclusive and diverse venue. Exciting and challenging seasons had fostered a loyal but small community, with low visibility, membership and a lack of brand awarenss.
Internal and external research confirmed a lack of coherent brand positioning, particularly in relation to its neighbors, SFMOMA and the recent introduction of MoAD. Tourists indicated there was some confusion with its proximity (in terms of nomenclature and locale) to Yerba Buena Center Gardens. Members had trouble identifying specific programming within the schedule and senior management were unhappy with an irrelevant messaging system and random marketing collateral.
Analysis of the research garnered some key brand attributes that expressed the organization’s ambitions; the primary ones being ‘visceral’, and ‘engaged’. Our positioning strategy focused on differentiating the Center and one’s encounter with it as being ‘juicy’, or more colorfully, as ‘oozing humanity’. The positioning statement, “Life Amplified”, formed the foundation of the branding program that would guide all marketing communications and was ultimately used as the organization’s tagline and monthly Newsletter title.
NOON recommended using ‘YBCA’ as its primary moniker but also using the longer form on marketing media. The logo captured the essence of the positioning with disarming simplicity and the collateral system established a ‘larger-than-life’ family look that graphically individuated the Performance, Exhibitions, Film, Membership and Community programs.
The under-utilized wavy wall was reinvented to become a primary promotional touch point with super-graphics that enhanced and supported all outdoor signage and banners.