The Other Art Fair (TOAF) is, as the name would suggest, not your typical art fair. Founded by a group of “creative thinkers, game changers and pleasure seekers”, it looks to subvert art world conventions by making art accessible, inclusive, and affordable. Each year, it takes place in various cities around the world, including London, Sydney, Los Angeles and Toronto, presenting an impressive array of emerging and independent artists.
Rebellion is at the heart of TOAF, but the team came to the decision that its branding no longer reflected this. Sydney-based design studio Universal Favourite was brought in to create a new identity that would better serve the fair’s mission and ethos.
Using TOAF’s commitment to “reframing the art world” as a jumping off point, Universal Favourite started by exploring what it calls “anti-trend behaviour” as a visual manifestation of this attitude. Working with Melbourne-based strategy studio Untangld, the studio developed a new system informed by the tagline Never Normal.
Beginning with the logo, they deviated from the norm of corner positioning and instead opted for a “literal and figurative frame that flexes to suit its context”. Capable of redefining and reshaping its contents in myriad ways, it draws on the endless number of materials, styles and subjects that can be found in art.
Next was the colour palette, which utilises several green-focused colour combinations to create a look that is “straightforward but striking”: Green-grey is used to showcase artworks, allowing the art itself to take centre stage; green-black is used for artist information and headshots; and green with any other colour is the background for event-specific content and promotional materials.
Meanwhile, the typographic approach was similarly simple. Composed of GT Ultra as the accent typeface and Brut Grotesque as the heading and body copy typeface, Universal Favourite was keen for the latter to do the heavy lifting while allowing for the former to stand out. Together, they form a “modern and accessible aesthetic with a tinge of rebellion”.
Finally, the system as a whole was designed to be adaptable, flexible and easily applied, to accommodate for TOAF’s global range of destinations. It was important that international audiences could understand and engage with the identity, and that the identity itself had the capacity to transform, becoming “an ever-changing artwork in itself”.