Creating excitement and ownership

One of my last initiatives as Executive Director of Atelier 6000 was lobbying for—and then executing— a rebrand of our nonprofit arts organization.

“Atelier 6000 was hard to say, hard to spell, and lacked meaning.”

Known as Atelier 6000 (or A6), our space for printmaking and books arts started as a small and selective studio. “Atelier” (a French word meaning artist workshop) was intended to resonate with elite printmakers. However, once we became a nonprofit in 2012 and embraced a broader mission, we had a disconnect. For the community at large, our name was hard to say, hard to spell, and lacked meaning. Despite operating in Bend for eight years, hosting numerous exhibitions, and eventually moving to a more visible location, Atelier 6000 was still unknown or misunderstood by a large swath of the public. It became clear that our name was interfering with our ability to connect with larger audiences.

By rebranding to Bend Art Center, we created a sense of community ownership. Our new name also brought instant clarity. More than a gallery, but not quite a museum, the phrase “art center” best describes our space as a place where the public can both see and make art. By strategically using common keywords in our name, we are consistently a top result for Google searches on “Bend” and “art.”

After creating a new logo and signage, I executed the rebrand across all our print collateral (catalogs, donor newsletters, brochures, mailers). I created a new identity suite of letterhead, envelopes and business cards. I also carried the rebrand through our website and updated our social media channels.

Example: Bend Art Center Catalog

Like the white of our gallery walls, our new brand is clean and accessible. Our print materials emphasize readability. Our website is photo-centric to emphasize art and artists, and offers numerous ways to search through and filter content. Our new brand maintains our original color scheme of red and black, with updated fonts to reflect our industrial location (in the historic box factory) and our emphasis on contemporary art.

Almost immediately after the rebrand, we began noticing a shift. More people ventured through our doors. Tourists and locals began finding us online. We received inquiries from businesses wanting to partner with us. It became easier for our board to secure sponsorships.