Branding Scotland’s Biggest Art Event In A Generation

Branding Scotland’s Biggest Art Event In A Generation

How do you sum up 25 years of globally renowned contemporary art in a single name?

That was the brief Leith were set by National Galleries of Scotland in June 2012. More specifically they asked us to create a name, identity and visual style for the largest most collaborative programme of exhibitions of past and current contemporary art coming out of Scotland, ever. Oh and we had to keep the future in mind and ensure that we didn’t come up with a name that sounded like a retrospective.

A challenging but exciting brief.

We tackled the name first and in order to make it an interactive and enjoyable process ensured we included as many of the stakeholders as possible.

We gave a very open to brief to several creative teams and asked them to be as open minded and creative as possible in coming up with suggestions to a simple proposition.

“Grab this moment to celebrate Scottish Contemporary art.”

We told them: “there are no boundaries – just give us loads.”

They took that guidance very well and came back to us with over 150 options from the simple, (NOW/HERE) to the profound (Sitting on the Offensive) to the esoteric (Under Shy Stones).

From our massive haul of suggestions we identified three themes:

• Magical
• Rallying call
• Enormity of impact

We then added an audience insight filter to the list of names. We wanted as many people as possible to come to the exhibitions so the language and the name shouldn’t be too highbrow, weird or niche.

We then created an interactive exercise with as many of the stakeholders that we could. We spread all of the names on the floor in the gallery and asked them to use the red spot system used when buying art to identify the ones they wanted to keep in the mix.

At the end of a fun, interactive session we had a clear frontrunner – ‘Echoes of a Generation.’ However for some this was polarising as echoes suggested history and looking back, and a big part of this exhibition was the future.

The answer seems very simple after the fact but at the time it took two or three weeks for everyone to agree that the word GENERATION alone was the perfect name for a once in a lifetime happening, celebrating the past and encouraging artists of the future.

Once in a generation for all generations.

Victoria Milne
Victoria Milne

Vic is a planner. She likes disagreeing with people, but knows she is not always right.