New York agency Red Peak has rebranded local charity Free Arts NYC with a custom alphabet created by 45 leading designers and visual artists.
FANYC provides arts-based education and mentoring programmes for children and families in New York. Red Peak was asked to create a new identity and website for the charity, and decided on a system that would help generate some much-needed extra income and involve the artistic community.
45 creatives made a letter or character for free, including illustrator, designer and former ad man Bob Gill, graffiti artist and designer Eric Haze, typographer Tony di Spigna, book designer Carin Goldberg, Apple creative director Alan Dye and Julia Hoffman, creative director of MoMA’s in-house design team.
Fashion designers and visual artists also took part – Diane von Furstenberg made a D, Lawrence Weiner designed an ampersand and Harper’s Bazaar submitted an apostrophe.
The alphabet forms the basis of the new FANYC logo and the varying designs reflect its emphasis on supporting all forms of creativity: the charity’s strapline is ‘there are no mistakes in art’.
Individual prints of each letter were sold at an auction hosted by Harper’s Bazaar last week, which raised $20,000 for FANYC and prints will also be available to buy online at freeartsnyc.org
The alphabet has already been used on stationery, signage and even clocks at FANYC’s offices, and will be applied to a range of products over the next few months, including mugs, tote bags and calendars.
“Every dollar spent on rebranding was a dollar not going to an arts program to kids in NYC,” says Red Peak’s CEO, James Fox. “We needed to do this project on the very tightest of budgets and this in the end inspired the idea itself – we wanted to create a brand identity that not only cost zero dollars, but would generate income for Free Arts for many years to come,” he adds.
You can view the full alphabet at FANYC’s website. The charity has also published a short film on the making of the project and video interviews with Gill, di Spigna and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, who designed a question mark.