Philadelphia. The city known for Rocky, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels…and murals. Currently, more than 3,600 stunning murals now adorn walls and buildings throughout the city.
These colorful works of art have become a bona fide attraction, so Mural Arts Philadelphia asked Brownstein Group to create an app that would let people access the magic of these murals with just their phone and their feet. The result is a highly intuitive experience that lets users select customized tours based on their location. They can also search and explore murals based on mural name or specific artist. As an added feature, the app provides specific details about the mural and its artist. Now, thanks to technological wizardry, art appreciation has become a hands-on experience.
Mural Arts Philadelphia has always focused on the big themes: art, community, social change. For their 2013 Wall Ball invitation, we wanted to bring these big picture ideas to life in a way that was interactive and lasting. The result was an invitation designed around the theme of photography: the envelope looked like a camera, and the invitation inside turned into a usable picture frame. We engaged invitees by asking them to go out into their community and take pictures of the murals they found, sharing them with the social media community with a hashtag. Contributing their own photos to Wall Ball made invitees feel part of something bigger, and the frame keepsake let them display their own art and memories at home.
The National Museum of American Jewish History had a great new exhibition on deck. “Chasing Dreams” was a collection dedicated to the rich and often untold ethnic and religious heritage behind American baseball. All they needed was an exciting way to get the word out.
We knew we wanted our work to reflect the exhibition itself and tell the stories of the men and women who helped make baseball what it is today. So we created a headline-driven campaign designed to hint at the history we don’t know that hides behind the myths we do.
The campaign was a hit. And the crowds went wild.
The Shipley School is situated in one of the most competitive archipelagos of selective private schools in the nation. Shipley in particular suffered from a reputation as being the “softer,” “artsier” school. Ironically, these very qualities—the freedom to explore, creativity in all pursuits, backed by classical rigor—led to the kind of deeply rooted education preferred by selective universities and employers. Our job was to embed this essence in a brand that assured parents as powerfully as it inspired their kids.
Every year Movember comes, and with it a sense of dread for Associate Creative Director Kenny Kim. The thick burst of hair that so easily sprouts for many barely makes an appearance on his baby face. With Oh Mo He Didn’t, Kenny Kim allowed people to not only witness his poor display of facial hair, they could also zoom in to truly appreciate its pitifulness and they could donate to a worthy cause of men’s health initiatives.
In honor of our 50th year, we couldn’t decide if we wanted to have fun or help out, so we did both. We partnered with Design Philly and threw a party for a cause. “Signs of the Times” celebrated Philadelphia’s past and how it still inspires us. The exhibition featured artwork by members of BG, digital spray paint by Incredible Machines and live screen-printing by Awesome Dudes. We ate, we drank, we raffled off the artwork and raised over $4,000 to help local Philly schools via the website donorschoose.org.
This was our way of giving back to the city that’s given so much to us for the past 50 years.
When Mural Arts Philadelphia asked us to concept an invitation for the 2012 Wall Ball, we knew the Roots—Philadelphia natives and the event’s guests of honor—could help us share the Mural Arts story with the community. The invitation we created featured tear-out postcards with lyrics from different Roots songs, accompanied by copy that spoke to the Mural Arts mission. So as we shared the message that “art ignites change,” recipients could put that idea into action by sending their postcards throughout the community.
Mural Arts Philadelphia believes art should be for the community, by the community—and we believe its advertising should be, too. Mural Arts fosters art that transforms neighborhoods and citizens. That’s not “messaging”—that’s a mission. So when they asked us to create materials for their Wall Ball event and Mural Arts Month in 2011, we came up with a campaign that brought this mission to the community using active, motivating language and illustrated text.
The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation tasked us with creating awareness of their proposed Education Center. They sought powerful, galvanizing creative that would demonstrate the importance of the center and spur donations. Our solution was a stunning website and printed brochure that vividly illustrated the urgency of preserving the memory of the Holocaust as survivors dwindle. To date, donors have responded enthusiastically, the organization has secured renowned architect Moshe Safdie and the Education Center is one step closer to becoming a reality.
We aren’t the only ones celebrating a milestone this year. Ten years ago DesignPhiladelphia emerged to identify, celebrate and raise the profile of this city’s creative economy. In 2014, they asked us to help celebrate a decade of design.
For 50 years, we’ve been inspired by all of the creativity this city has to offer—from a hand-painted sign to a carefully crafted billboard. So we were honored to help them create the overall look and feel of this year’s festival. In addition to creating the key design, we joined the festival as a sponsor. With the sponsorship, we were one of 20 Philadelphia artists chosen to transform an IKEA mirror, as well as host an event featuring designs by our own studio.
All of the pieces celebrate the future of design in this city by looking to what has been laid down for us.