How can solid branding help raise $25 million dollars?

The Challenge: Cain Center for the Arts (previously Cornelius Arts Center) has evolved a great deal within a short time frame. With a pressing deadline to produce massive financial support we also needed to “set the stage” for powerful and creative branding to bring people in…years before it’s built.

The Solution: To position this brand effectively to the audiences that will fulfill its fundraising goals while also building energy for an even wider range of audiences who will enjoy the Center itself requires clarity to get to the heart of what matters to each.

We started with our Discovery Process to get deep into the facts, narrative, brand strategy, personality, competition, and peer analysis, among other important details. After this process we created a Brand Blueprint to establish the backbone for creative development.

Secondary Logos

When considering logo directions, the exclamation mark became an unexpected hero. At first glance the logo solution is humble, yet extremely versatile.

The exclamation mark, like the arts itself, is open-ended and direct at the same time. It belongs to everyone and no one. It claims “tada!” while other times “this is important!” The flexibility of the symbol allows us to build a personality with enough range to advertise a ballet as appropriately as a children’s finger painting class.

Flyer Design & Icon System

Building from some of the established branding cues of the first “temporary” round of branding, we expanded the color palette, updated typography styles, and curated a range of elements to help support their wide range of messages.

Once the main brand cues were established we created a sub-brand to speak more directly to prospective donors. Top-level brand messages were made public while a more focused and specific message was delivered to a curated list invited to join the Founders’ Society.

(Interested in seeing the designs we created for those efforts? Consider getting involved to receive your own copies in hand.)

Building off of their four brand pillars, we created a brochure that sets a tone and intention for where the Center is going and why everyone should care. This, in turn, was built into an energetic video by Wheelhouse Media who brought our ideas to life in motion. (view video here)

The Result: With a unique and memorable brand foundation, the Center continues to express its message through an ever-growing collection of touchpoints. Donors continue to engage and commit, working ever closer toward their goal. Check out their site for the latest news!

“From the very beginning, our project has required a very open and flexible type of client/company relationship. They honored this flexibility while creating materials that would serve a goal that was constantly adapting. The team at has been the perfect group to work with. They have adapted with us, grown with us, and been responsive to every need we have. Along the way, they have created branding materials that will establish our company for years to come. The creation of an identity is challenging and they aren't afraid to ask the hard questions to really understand your value. They always want what’s best for the client and their work has been high-quality since day one which continues to attract attention as we continue to grow.”

Justin A. Dionne,
Executive Director, Cain Center for the Arts