Welcome to the Marketplace of Ideas. We have two stories today about branding, advertising and creating identity. The first takes place at a middle school in Harlem, the second at a museum in London. Both stories demonstrate that creativity is a vital skill with applications outside the classroom. 

Storefront of Ideas

Truth in advertising: Life has its ups and downs.

Our young artists at Hamilton Grange Middle School have something to sell you. We’re talking big ideas, like “Love,” “Truth” and “Fun.” These middle school students in CAW Teaching Artist Max Allbee’s art class are using paint, pencils and paper cut-outs to create fictional storefronts to market ideas, both concrete and abstract.

Students looked for inspiration from thought-provoking artists such as Ron English, Randy Hage, the Young Lords and Max’s own illustration, the “Inconvenience Store.” They then borrowed techniques from graphic design, advertising and propaganda, such as composition, color and inventive uses of text, to get their point across.

By building their own fictional storefronts, students learn how ideas can be manufactured, packaged and sold. These concepts are reinforced through reflection writing and culminate with a gallery walk where students discuss their finished storefronts.

You Are the Brands You Keep

While our middle school students were busy creating their own storefront of ideas in the classroom, our pro bono branding partner Lippincott was exploring similar themes at the Design Museum's 2015 Design Festival in London. Lippincott's temporary exhibit, Like Me: Our Bond with Brands, examined both the ubiquitous nature of brands in our society as well as the roles that consumers play in their creation.

Lippincott made their point with style and a healthy dose of whimsy. Installations included topiaries in the shape of famous icons, such as the McDonald’s arches and the Twitter bird; and a green and white coffee cup that is still instantly recognizable despite a giant hole where the ubiquitous logo should be. The coffee cup is particularly cheeky, given that Lippincott won praise for redesigning the Starbucks logo in 2011. 

Lippincott has helped Creative Art Works develop a new brand strategy, name, messaging, and visual identity. Lippincott designed Creative Art Works award-winning logo. Members of the Lippincott team also regularly volunteer their time at our community art-making events and out-of-school time art programs.