Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public arts program, uniting artists and communities throughout Philadelphia for over 30 years. Dedicated to the belief that art ignites change, Mural Arts transforms public spaces while also transforming individual lives. Each year the organization completes 60-100 public art projects.
Mural Arts Philadelphia hosted German artist, Katharina Grosse known for her abstract environmental installations and murals. Grosse came to Philadelphia to paint a series of murals, titled Psychylustro.
In need of promotional pieces for the exhibit, Mural Arts asked GDLOFT to create a brand identity. The challenge facing this project was the desire from Mural Arts to promote the series in a non-traditional way. Mural Arts did not want any work done by Grosse or images of herself to be on the identity. Also, Mural Arts wanted the identity to be created before the murals even existed.
Obviously, these parameters meant that the identity could not depict the artist and her murals visually.
In order to create a deliverable that was cohesive and collaborative with the series, GDLOFT chose to feed off of the artist’s approach to her work. To follow Grosse’s method of making no distinction between foreground and background, the design interfuses the type and background. The color palette was chosen in anticipation to the colors Grosse’s would use to paint the series.
In addition to the complex background and color palette, GDLOFT also added contrasting text in the design. We formulated a series of questions for Grosse, asking about her work and philosophy of art. Grosse’s answers were then incorporated in the designs. This strategy was used in order to generate intrigue about the series itself, while giving the artist a voice to engage a conversation with the city. Having clear formed answers from Grosse allowed the general public to digest her use of abstraction easier. The idea of Psychylustro went from abstract and confusing to intriguing and conversational, all while building anticipation towards the unveiling of the murals.