Ann Arbor Art Fair

Three fairs. One event. 400,000+ visitors!

CLIENT: M10 Marketing
SCOPE: Logo Design, Print Collateral, Nostalgic Inspiration
When I was given the opportunity to design a logo for Michigan’s Ann Arbor Art Fair, I jumped at the chance. The annual event has a place near and dear to my heart and I was very excited to create something special for it. 
Drawing nearly half a million visitors over the course of three days, the event, held every July, is an extravaganza of energy and creativity. Renowned as the largest juried art fair nationwide, it showcases the talents of nearly 1,000 artists, spanning an impressive 30-city-block footprint throughout downtown Ann Arbor. 
With three separate, independently juried, yet linked fairs that are spread throughout the city, the mission of the logo was to represent each individual fair while still reading as a whole. ​​​​​​​
My concept​​​​​​​ for the Ann Arbor Art Fair logo evolved from an event that took place while I was an art student at the University of Michigan. Responding to a proposed 25% cut to the School of Art's budget, the students and faculty organized a coordinated pushback against the threat. Rather than resort to a noisy, chaotic demonstration, we instead adopted a "silent yet deadly" approach and staged a choreographed somber protest that visually illustrated the devastating impact the cut would have upon the school and the future of arts education.
Professors, administrators and students dressed uniformly in black with paper "ART" signs pinned to our chests. We marched in military fashion from the Diag to Regents Plaza, ending at the Museum of Art. There, a senior student with a huge replica X-Acto knife symbolically "cut" 25% of us. The unfortunate demonstrators who were tapped on the shoulder with the dreaded knife fell to their knees, dramatically illustrating how deep the proposed cuts would be. At the end, we unfurled a banner that simply read "Support the School of Art."
Ultimately, cuts were made to the budget, but they were not nearly as drastic as they might have been. For me, the experience was exhilarating as it was my very first protest. Creating a logo that incorporated this meaningful piece of history was my heartfelt way of honoring this vibrant, important arts community and the school that taught me so much.
Back to Top