From WNYBAC to Book Arts

We’re proud to have worked with Telesco Creative Group on creating the new Book Arts’ brand. The refreshed, modern and creative Book Arts mark is representative of who we are, what we do, and the mission we hold dear. As Buffalo’s only community accessible printshop and book arts studio, it only makes sense that the mark is reflective of the tools we use and teach everyday. In its subtleties, the mark is representative of both an open book and a piece of type, married together with modern and eclectic typefaces to represent our rich history and our innovative & creative future. Not to mention a hint of letterpress texture, to boot. Bringing these traditional forms of communication and artforms into a modern, simple, and *slightly* imperfect mark, the Book Arts brand logo is indicative of the tools, processes and artmaking that makes us and what we do unique.

And as a reminder…among these many visual changes, we’re moving away from our acronym and have adopted a new nickname: “Book Arts”! The old acronym will always be near and dear to our hearts, but we’re looking ahead to the new opportunities our concise name will bring. “Book Arts” clearly identifies our mission and goals; it’s what we do! With this new identity, we’re excited to continue providing exceptional education & artist opportunities, making a wider impact on the WNY community & beyond.

The team over at Telesco Creative Group helped bring our new brand vision to fruition, and we are so grateful to have worked alongside them not only for this journey, but for future endeavours and opportunities that our new brand will bring. 

When asked to join the WNYBAC team to rebrand their business and create a new online presence, we went through our tried and true process of brand discovery. And the process, well it was an interesting one. To say we were all on the same page from day one would not be true. But that’s not bad, either. The Book Arts team, and our team, were able to use the process to learn a great deal about one another. Our perception of just what the Book Arts Center is and does was challenged—in a nice way. The depth and range of the artistic, educational and curatorial activities far exceeded whatever we were thinking. This revelation would give us some range in how we approached the brand. That said, we wanted to make a strong first impression on people that that knew them and others that didn’t. An impression that quickly made a statement and was easy to understand. So it made sense to focus on two key things—books and letterpress printing. These two paths are the entry point into the bigger world that is the Book Arts Center.

Tactically, it was also important to understand that much of the printed communications needed and used by the Book Arts Center, would be created at the Book Arts Center. So, while we don’t like to put execution in front of the idea, we decided to let them evolve side by side. The logo—or “mark”—would need to be easily rendered in wood or polymer printing plates, or as silk screen art. Simple, graphic. Void of unnecessary detail.

Another consideration—more a creative one—was the idea that the Book Arts Center is grounded in the imperfect spirit of hand-made art. The printing press is a machine, but it is guided and fed by human hands. No two prints are ever exactly the same. No two books are built the same way. No two pieces of wood or metal type age the same way. So, we wanted to inject some of this imperfection—the place where we find soul—into the identity mark artwork. Knowing as well that we had little if any control over what else would coexist with it.

Having some visual thoughts is part of the process in a rebrand, but we also wanted to challenge what people called the WNY Book Arts Center, or as it was often referred to by people in the know, WNYBAC (pronounced winnie-back). We felt that if we were trying to get people to understand the brand quickly, we needed to expand the current group of “insiders” who readily knew the long name (or the acronym) and invite more people to the party. To evolve the “nickname” in a way that was more informal and quicker—Book Arts.

We broke the design into the most basic elements—a book and a piece of metal or wood type. Hopefully both would, at some point, be seen. The deliberate 45 degree angle answered to these ideas in the present, and would set us up for design and alignment cues for accompanying content elements going forward. The switch from the bold sans serif typeface to a bold serif face supports the idea that printing type is modular, and that it carries with it history and the spirit of the artists working with it.

Color is another decision that was thought through carefully. Choosing a red (because of the use of it in historic book printing as an accent color,) coupled with dark gray, provide a bold visual statement with enough contrast to create visual harmony. We built the logo with parameters that it can and should be used with many colors though. Often times, a corporate identity is locked into one color, along with a black and white version to provide versatility. In this case we encouraged the use of the logo in many different colors as a representation of the artistic atmosphere of the Book Arts Center.

Building a brand is a long and rewarding process. Building a brand of something you believe in and want to teach the world about takes that feeling up a notch. We love what Book Arts does for our community—not only our geographic community, but our design community. It balances the tradition of a craft with artistic and educational energy. It is important to know where things came from, so you can help to move them forward and change the level of the playing field in the future.

Congratulations Book Arts and thank you for including us on this historic step forward.

Greg Meadows & Mike Telesco

Telesco Creative Group

Are you an independent artist interested in learning about Branding and how to market yourself? Register for BRANDING FOR ARTISTS, part of the Daemen College Speaker Series!