A New Look for CAA
As we look to build CAA in the future, with new and energized staff, new programs that will assist all of us in our professional lives, we have given the organization a new look and a name more focused on how our members know us after many years of service. We unveiled our new logo, new name, and new branding colors at the 106th Annual Conference last week in Los Angeles.
For decades, people have used the term “CAA” as a nickname for the Association. Many of our members feel connected to the words, College Art Association, but many others, especially new members and prospective members, feel these words don’t resonate with them. We started the renaming and rebranding process in spring of 2017 with the retention of a professional design and branding firm called Briteweb, which works exclusively with social sector organizations. This fall, as part of the research process, CAA and Briteweb held workshops, surveyed the current and past membership, and conducted interviews with long-standing and new members, as well as other arts professionals.
Nearly 1,500 members and members of the wider CAA community contributed to surveys and questionnaires about a new name and mark for the organization. As part of the process, we not only looked internally at our own membership but also at the marks of similar societies and organizations. To shepherd the process, CAA established a Branding Subcommittee, which reviewed and synthesized all of the ideas coming from membership and from Briteweb.
Last December we reached the first major milestone in the renaming and rebranding process. The Board, informed by member feedback, unanimously voted to simply call the organization CAA and to add a tagline ADVANCING ART & DESIGN to be used in coordination with the three letters.
Then we built a new logo. We built the new logo by thinking about the field, about our collective passions and interests, and the work we work we do every day. We narrowed down to two core components: the frame and the page. We used these symbols of the lives and work of our members as the building blocks of the new visual identity. They represent what we study, what we teach, what we practice, and what we create. We spend endless hours looking at, thinking about, writing about and reading about art.
We also wanted the idea of flexibility to be part of CAA’s new identity so we’ve adopted a logo system that can change as we do and as the field does. And the color palette was, of course, very important to us. We wanted to inject vibrancy and lots of color into our new logo system.
But change is more than a logo. This is about a shift in how we work to assist everyone in the field. A new look necessitates action. This is about more opportunities to present papers at the conference. This is about more opportunities to publish articles. It’s about more opportunities to network with colleagues. It’s about more opportunities to advocate for the field. It’s about beginning to think seriously about attracting otherwise marginalized communities to be part of the field.
This is the future of CAA.
A Brief History of 107 Years of Branding at CAA
From its inception, the College Art Association understood the importance of its name. Publications like The Art Bulletin (founded in 1913) and Art Journal (founded in 1941) have proudly touted the name of the organization.
But formal branding and styling did not arrive until the 1950s when a modernist approach was adopted.
It was not until decades later, in the 1980s, that an official CAA logo took shape. The CAA logo of the 1980’s angled forward in all capital letters and had conjoined A’s.
In 2012, the CAA logo many know was born.
The new CAA logo dropped its height to use lowercase letters in a sans-serif font that was overlaid with swooping and intersecting lines.
Murmurs and Decisions
For years, discussion has brewed among the CAA board of directors and members about a name change and new branding for the organization. The decision was formally written into the 2015-2020 CAA Strategic Plan.
In spring 2017, work officially began. CAA issued an RFP for the redesign and renaming of the 107-year old organization. The firm Briteweb, which specializes in branding for the social sector, was chosen as the best fit from eight other firms.
Step 1: Renaming
Feedback. Feedback. Feedback. The first step on the path to renaming the College Art Association (CAA) was gathering feedback from our members and stakeholders. A survey went out to all members, current and lapsed. Phone calls and interviews took place with stakeholders and board members. We learned a lot.
“Overall, it seems to me that the goal should be to figure out how to make sure that everyone who has a stake in teaching art, design, art history, curatorial and museum practices at the college level understand that they are included and welcomed—that it is their professional organization.” –CAA member survey response
Feedback we received from our members told us how CAA matters to them, where we can improve, and where we should focus our energy as we move into the future.
Step 2: A Tagline That Fits
Members told us that CAA has to move forward. You told us that we have to be there for the next generations of students and scholars in the arts and humanities. We have to advance the field by supporting the field. Our tagline was born.
“Advancing Art & Design”
We also learned that there was immeasurable value packed into three letters—CAA. We explored different acronyms, new names, and different words to fit CAA. But in the end, it came down to the letters CAA being the sole representation of the organization as it moves into the future, stepping up a role they have already played for decades.
Step 3: A Logo is Born
With our name settled, it was time to design. What does advancing mean visually? How can we encompass the many professions and personalities of our membership in a visual representation? Rounds of designs were reviewed.
We wanted risk, but not too risky.
The new CAA logo includes nods to the frame and page, two crucial elements of our members’ lives. It has dimensionality and flexibility. Just like our members.
As we celebrate the spirit of generosity on #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting LA-based organizations to consider giving to alongside CAA.
We thank you for your support!
COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION
This past year, we fought for the causes of our members and those in the arts and culture field at large. Your contribution helps to ensure that CAA continues our mission in promoting the visual arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners. The larger our voice, the larger the impact we will have.
18TH STREET ARTS CENTER
One of our recommended 2018 conference stops, the 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top twenty artist residency programs in the US. They value art-making as an essential component of a vibrant, just, and healthy society where the creative process is just as important as the outcome.
MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART (MOLAA)
Another one of our 2018 conference stops, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art, and serves the greater Los Angeles area.
PROMESA BOYLE HEIGHTS
Promesa Boyle Heights is a collective of residents, youth, schools, and community organizations united in lifting community voices and working together to transform conditions and improve opportunities for students and families in Los Angeles.
posted by CAA — September 08, 2014
The following message was sent as an attachment to an email from Adam D. Blistein, executive director of the Society for Classical Studies, on Friday, September 5, 2014.
Letter about Our New Name
I am writing to let you know that the American Philological Association, founded in 1869 and the principal learned society for Classics scholars in North America, has changed its name to the Society for Classical Studies (SCS). We have also unveiled the new logo that appears on this letterhead and will soon launch a new web site. These changes culminate a decade-long process of re-examining the role of the Society in the 21st century, with the goal of better promoting and serving a growing interest in Classical antiquity on the part of students and teachers at all levels as well as the general public.
For centuries the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome have inspired creativity, contemplation, scholarship, and teaching both inside and outside of the academy. While we continue to serve our original academic mission, we also want to take advantage of new technologies which make it easier to share the insights and pleasures of studying Classical antiquity with the widest possible audience. A new name is critical to this expanded mission. A philological focus is at the core of much scholarship on Greek and Latin texts, and we will continue to take an active role in projects like the Digital Latin Library that represent excellent philology in the 21st Century. However, we recognize that the term is no longer widely understood and therefore can be a barrier to communication with a broader public. Especially now, when it is so important for us to advocate for the study of Classics and, indeed, of all the humanities, we must strive for clarity in the transmission of our message.
We recently completed a successful capital campaign which raised an unprecedented $3.2 million to provide essential resources for Classics teachers and scholars and to share our appreciation for Classical antiquity as broadly as possible. The name of the Campaign (From Gatekeeper to Gateway: The Campaign for Classics in the 21st Century) reflected this ambition. Donors from both inside and outside of our membership supported this effort because they shared our belief that knowledge of Classics is a valuable component of education, attracts broad interest, and has much to contribute to contemporary society. Our new web site is the next step in responding to this interest. It will add features targeted to a variety of audiences, improve its accessibility to different types of users, and facilitate communications that support the Society’s goal to be the public face of Classics in North America.
It is a special privilege to be guiding the Society as we take this significant step and establish a new level of leadership in Classical Studies. The SCS looks forward to continuing to work with you to encourage the study of Classics and of all humanistic disciplines.
Very truly yours,