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Art on the Rocks

2010–2023 | Birmingham Museum of Art
Posters | Branding
Fonts in Use:
2010–2022: Akzidenz Grotesk / 2023: Oswald and Public Sans

The Birmingham Museum of Art debuted a novel after hours program named Art on the Rocks in 2005. Starting as a low-key event featuring food, music, art, and drinks, the event grew significantly over the next few years. Production levels increased and the event no longer felt like a DIY party being thrown by staff, instead becoming the marquee summer event series where one had to be to see and be seen.

It was time to update the brand to the event in 2010. The new logo was developed to be adaptable year to year based on the theme of each summer. Playfulness was maintained via an overlapping CMYK color palette and dynamic layouts.

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2010 - The new identity

Original Logo



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The previous identity, 2005-2009

Work for the redesign culminated in three options that were pitched to museum leadership.

The Ribbon

black and white logo A and R in ribbon like style
This option creates a monogram of the A and R from Art on the Rocks in a ribbon like, or origami form. It can be presented as a ribbon, or a solid color. This mark speaks to a number of artistic traditions. Drawn out as a ribbon it can imply calligraphy of a Western or Eastern variety. As shapes it can suggest constructivism, abstract expressionism, or more spcifically Gravity’s Rainbow in the Museum collection.

Poster

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Codename 1965

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In general shape and appearance, this option references, or at least feels related to the text from the original Art on the Rocks logo. The letterforms were pulled from a directional sign in a 1965 photo of the museum's original Lobby. Thus, the logo relates directly to Museum history, while also bearing a familiar relationship to the past Art on the Rocks logo.

Poster

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The Monogram

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This option is created from the initials of Art on the Rocks, and is set in the same typeface as the Museum logo. The letterforms have been modified, particularly in the way the letters overlap. This mark bears some of the same artistic references as the first, certainly Dada and Constructivism, but is certainly more formal. This formality which relates back to the existing Museum identity can be offset by the application of the logo in layout form, as seen in the following examples.

Poster
The original pitched poster design, not significantly different than the final production poster.

light blue tshirt

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2011 - Who Shot Rock & Roll dominated the summer. To match the aesthetic, the approach was a grungy background and distressing the newly established logo.
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2012 - The summer theme was based on the exhibition Warhol and Cars. As such, it was time to deploy a pop-art influenced mash-up using vintage cars and the AOTR logo.
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2013 - No major exhibition theme for the summer meant a new approach. Crossover performances in the galleries was a new addition, so they were featured in the overlapping logo forms. Frontman for the marquee hometown band, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, took top visual billing.
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2014 - The big TEN. More refinement, references to the 2010 layout, remixed with a samurai print, the exhibition of the summer being Lethal Beauty:Samurai Weapons and Armor.
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2015 - The introduction of a new brand for the museum. The large black bar was an expansion of an information strip used in wider branding. The illustrations were drawn from prior attendees.
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2016 - A return to form. A swirling vortex of logo as the reliance on summer themes was reduced.
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2017 - A request for a more minimal take on the identity. Flipping the aesthetic, logo in outline form, color in parallel bars.
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2018 - Keeping the outlined logo approach, bringing in the neon and a greater focus on the musical acts.
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2019 - A break from the logo. Though a new identity wasn't proscribed, there was an intention to focus more on the museum identity and less on the standalone Art on the Rocks identity. The color theme and fragmented elements were retained as a call back to the Art on the Rocks brand.
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2022 - After a two year pandemic hiatus, it was time to bring the event back. Just one event instead of multiple dates, and a new remix of the elements. Museum branding at the forefront even more than 2019, but a stronger call-back to the original Art on the Rocks look with the overlapping logo pattern.
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2023 - A black and white look inspired by the promo photography of the headlining act. Introducing a new take on both the Art on the Rocks and the Birmingham Museum of Art identities.