Founded in 1911, the College Art Association (or ‘CAA’ to most of its members) is the longest established, largest, and most influential membership organization for visual art professionals.
Coming into their collaboration with Briteweb, one of CAA’s biggest communication challenges was that their brand—and particularly their name—resonated deeply with some of their members while it seemed to exclude, confuse and even alienate other members, which include art practitioners, historians, educators, museum professionals, journalists, independent scholars, designers, and more. CAA also had concerns about the name confusing potential members, a fact they heard directly from attendees at their large Annual Conference each year.
“We settled on Briteweb to handle CAA’s rebranding and renaming after a very selective process. We knew we had to find just the right firm that would understand our members and the importance of rebranding a 107-year-old organization that supports professionals in the visual arts.”
It was a balancing act. On one hand, the name had more than 100 years of history—and brand equity—attached to it. On the other, many felt it was time for something new and more clear. Together, we needed to create a new brand identity that honored CAA’s history, while reflecting what the organization looks like today, and how it will evolve in the coming years.
So where did we land? We’ll let CAA’s Executive Director, Hunter O’Hanian, tell you himself:
For this project, it was important that Briteweb take our highly consultative process to a new level, incorporating input from CAA’s 20-person Board of Directors, a number of key decision-makers within the organization and nearly 800 of CAA’s members.
Only by opening our brand strategy process to an unprecedented number and diversity of voices were we able to get a full and accurate picture of ‘who’ CAA is. Those voices led us to the conclusion that the best name for the CAA was…CAA. Not “College Art Association”, but simply the letters “CAA”, with the addition of a tagline that encapsulates their value to members: “Advancing Art & Design”. To complete the transformation, Briteweb’s creative team designed a stunning new visual identity that speaks to the spirit of CAA and its membership community.
“We could not have been more pleased with the decision. From the deep research to the comprehensive strategy and presentations, Briteweb led our project with a full understanding of our needs. Since the completion of the project, several of our fellow organizations have mentioned they now have logo and branding envy.”