Cape Town Art Fair showcases a diversity of work that represents the forefront of contemporary art from Africa and around the world – and bringing that world to Africa.
The city boasts a vibrant arts scene, driven by the top galleries on the African continent. Thanks to its diverse cultural heritage and geographic beauty, Cape Town is a compelling destination for both art world professionals and collectors alike.
CTAF had gained momentum over the years and called for a rebranding & online presence which would serve as a solid foundation for its brand pillars to develop over the years ahead.
Whilst Cape Town Art Fair is growing, so is the African art community.
The developed FNB Joburg Art Fair, the well-known Grahamstown Arts festival & Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA set to be unvailed to the world come 2017, will encourage artists, exhibitors and collectors to invest in Africa as an art destination to exhibit & discover pieces.
However, this also posed a threat to Cape Town Art Fair, as it needed to elevate itself to a platform that would still lead the contempory art community and not be sidelined in order to attract investment, sponsorship & exhibitors.
Create an identity & brand personality which represent Cape Town Art Fair’s purpose: showcasing the forefront of innovation and art, not detracting from it.
Have Cape Town Art Fair being considered the cornerstone of African contemporary art / be the largest art fair in Africa
Increase foot traffic within the fair galleries & global buzz/interest amoung the art world community: collectors, artists, sponsors & press
Present the CTAF brand as it presents the art: global, innovative, welcoming, but not detracting
Art galleries role is to present the art & maintain the focus on the pieces, however by following a templated approach, they can be generic or even forgettable.
When identifying iconic galleries and art fairs from around the world, they tend to break this mould through their design & identity – the most iconic of these have success which goes beyond just the art world, but becomes engulfed in the cities heritage and flavour, each helping define the other.
Cape Town Art Fair needed to harness & own an identity. One that represented the bold statements of African artists, yet understated to not take anything away from the focus point. One that represented a contemporary & modern approach to position the brand at the peak of innovation & progression, yet maintain a classic elegance. A challenging task to find the balanced harmony of all these traits.
When observing a lot of the artworks which are displayed, and understanding the selection process by the curator, they reflect the artist’s position, their thoughts and vicinities – the current discourse, social issues or projections of themselves and each other. The art was drawn upon from their lives and surroundings, helping transfer us to a different state of emotions.
Cape Town, home of the fair and the perfect middle-point of the world, represented all these things, and the influence we should draw upon to take a strong position as Cape Town’s premier art fair for contemporary art.
Cape Town, an iconic muse
The world’s stop for African contemporary art
We assembled a design and strategy team to create the brand’s new visual identity, which includes logo, typography and brand behaviours.
Cape Town’s iconic silhouette at sunset is subtly positioned in the typeface of “art fair”. The two “A’s” form the peaks between Table Mountain, which is expressed through the flat, horizontal plateau of the “T”.
The brand colours take inspiration from the natural beauty of the contrasting dark ocean waters and light sandy beaches, which Cape Town shares with the world.
The sharp square borders the logo to draw focus to the middle and reflect the same simplicity of the traditional art frame.
The collateral was designed upon a traditional template, creating consistency across the various elements, however, each element had a unique graphic inspired by the function of the element.
The use of the two contrasting colours created simple but bold elements to draw upon and reuse easily, but effectively.
The large areas of space were utilised to draw the eye to the focal points as would the elements in a gallery to complement the art.
A custom-built website allowed for simple management and updates. The major addition was the portal for local galleries & artists to submit applications, images and bios to be featured online and at the fair, where the admin was able to vet and publish work to their website and mailing list in a few, simple clicks.
Visitors could access the lineup over the days, purchase tickets to specific galleries or talks, and make a bespoke itinerary for themselves which included their personal agenda and artists/speakers bios and details through easy navigation.
The new website’s enhanced UX was applied over a fresh digital design. Creating unique elements & transitions that were striking, yet still familiar with common web standards and principals.
In addition to supporting galleries and assisting in economic contribution to the cities that host them – think large volumes of affluent visitors, and the exhibitors themselves – art fairs provide a platform for emerging artists to be recognised and gain traction in local and international markets.
Billboards and banners were peppered throughout the city in key areas and placements – locations in and around galleries, or near places our demographic visited or would frequent.
Tactical posters of abstract depictions of Cape Town’s landmarks were placed around the city. These included the iconic Cape Town Stadium, Table Mountain, Boulders Beach & the Muizenburg changing rooms.
Found in various coffee shops, hotel lobbies and galleries around the city as a way to attract interest from art enthusiasts, the global market and locals by showing its connection and invested visual identity into the city of Cape Town.
Over 100 galleries were exhibited of traditonal, local art and international contemporary art for 3 days, taking place at the CTICC and throughout the city, hosting alomost 15000 visitors.
According to the Art Market report, the percentage of visitors at the CTAF in 2018 had grown by 220% since the first edition in 2013, with an 8% growth year-on-year, attracting new partners and name sponsors to progress the event even further over the next 10 years.
Client: Fiera Milano – Cape Town Art Fair
Agency: Publicis Machine
Executive Creative Directors: Jake Bester, Gareth McPherson
Designer: Andrew Ringrose
Developers: Mick Valentine, Gareth Cozens
UX & Digital Planner: Mick Valentine
Copywriter: Neil Meyer
Client service: Kate Jackson