Visual Identity for Art Galleries
What is a visual identity and why is it important?
First of all, I would like to talk about ‘Identity.’ What is a ‘business identity’? Why should you have an identity?
All businesses and organisations have an identity just like people do. Identity is the face of your business, it is the way you present yourself to your target market. It represents you, who you are, what you are do, and how do you do it. With a purposeful identity, you can easily communicate with your audience. One of the ways to achieve this goal is a visual identity. Visual identity is the visual aspect of your identity which includes: a logo, graphic charter (colour palette and typography), business card, website, and so on.
It communicates the values, message, and story of your business to your clients. It expresses the personality of your business. A strong visual identity is purposeful, flexible, and comprehensive.
Many people think only a brand needs a visual identity. I believe every business must have one, especially those in the domain of art and culture. Museums and galleries need to use the graphic language to present themselves to their audience because the visual speaks louder than words.
Differences between visual identity in commerce and galleries
The first noticeable difference is the target market. The audience and target clients differ between these two fields, as a result the design concept will be different. When creating a visual identity for commerce, the message of the brand and products are important elements that need to be considered because their aim is to convince clients to become consumers. However, in the cultural domain, the customer’s journey is about ‘experience’ and ‘content,’ not ‘experience’ and ‘product.’ Your audience are people interested in art, and they want to engage with the artwork. Of course not all of them are buyers, but you always have a chance to funnel them to the point-of-sale with the appropriate marketing strategy. That is to say, commercial businesses seduce clients with products, whereas galleries use aesthetic and intellectual forces; this fact is the principal difference between the visual identity of art galleries and commercial enterprise.
Important factors for creating a visual identity for a gallery
One important factor in creating a visual identity for a gallery is to create emotional motivation between the art buyer and the artwork. Art encourages people to look and think about what they see and what the artist is trying to convey; it can take them on a journey and offer inspiration. Focusing on emotion by using the correct colour palette and typography plays a fundamental role in communicating with your audience.
Remember, you have only a few seconds to impress your visitors when they visit your website, see your business cards, or your advertisements. If your communication media do not reflect your core values, you will miss your opportunity!
Every gallery has a mission, cultural intention, and story. These parameters should inform the creation of a visual identity. The visual identity of a gallery that is 50 years old will be different from the gallery that opened in the last 4 years because they have a different story, values, and positioning in the market.
Figure 1. Important parameters for creating a visual identity
Visual identity is one of the tools that make you unique, and hopefully, increase sales. It encourages people to visit your gallery and influences the customer’s intention to buy artwork. It can make you stand out from your competitors, it can make your gallery identifiable over time, and it can deliver a clear message to new collectors, journalists, art bloggers, and artists about your purpose and mission. The most beneficial part is that an impactful visual identity enables you to build relationships of trust with your clients and promotes interactions between you, your artists, and your clients. Because people associate you with your visual identity, they will easily remember you the next time they search for artwork.
About the writer: Setareh Feylizadeh is a graphic designer and the founder of Lozi graphic design in Paris, France. She has a PhD in Fine Art and works as a graphic designer and consultant for art galleries. For more information about her services, visit her website.