The Organization of American States: Rebranding Project

Introduction

 

Fall 2008

  

Development of a logo and identity system for the Organization of American States (OAS) and the OAS’ Art Museum of the Americas for internal and external communications.

Designmatters and the Graphic Design Department partnered with the Organization of American States (OAS), one of the oldest international governing bodies in the world, to develop a uniform and engaging branding identity system that would give the OAS a mark serving to identify and represent them well into the 21st century.

The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948. The OAS is the oldest regional international organization and the premier multilateral forum in the Western Hemisphere. The Organization is represented by 34 member states and 61 permanent observer countries including the European Union (EU). As a truly multicultural organization, the OAS has four official languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French, representing the national languages of the majority of its members. The member states adopted the OAS Democratic Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 2001, the Organization adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This document defines the essential elements of democracy and indicates ways in which it can and should be promoted. It also gives the governments of the Western Hemisphere a solid framework to guide their collective action when democracy faces challenges.  Through Designmatters, Art Center College of Design is formally affiliated with OAS as a civil organization member.

  

A project like this, involving engagement with an actual client, is a great reminder to students that the reality of graphic design practice is public communication on behalf of others. The chance to work with real people with real needs is an invaluable learning experience for students.

– Simon Johnston, Instructor

Designmatters engaged a senior team of faculty and advanced students from Art Center’s Graphic Design Department to work in two dedicated studios that were assigned the project during the fall 2008 academic term.

  

Design Brief

The goal of this studio was to create a unified branding system, including a style guide, that would effectively promote the purposes, programs, and achievements of OAS and OAS’s Art Museum of the Americas for use by internal staff, governments, media, and other external OAS stakeholders.

This project represented a marvelous opportunity for students to engage their fresh perspectives in a project of wonderful complexity.  The goals of the project were to develop a strong new OAS graphic identity, which could perform well in all media, as well as a set of brand identity usage guidelines to better facilitate the consistency and implementation of the new graphic vocabulary for all OAS stakeholders (internal and external).

  

Outcomes

Out of a very strong field of student submissions, the Organization of American States has chosen Sang Park’s mark as an identity direction that will be utilized in the evolving communications strategy of the organization. Grace Karabachian’s branding system for the Art Museum of the Americas was selected as the first logotype in the history of the museum.  Samples from their final projects can be found in the project gallery.