A country transformed by culture.
Bringing us together, happier, healthier.
To excite, inspire, delight.
To enrich our lives.
The ten-year strategy for Arts Council England was published last Monday and we couldn’t be prouder to have worked on such an inspiring project. A project that endeavours to shine a light on positivity and collaboration over what promises to be a very interesting next decade.
But how do you create a campaign for a strategy that is focused on inclusivity, opportunity and public engagement?
Developing the message
“We have built a campaign which supports the Arts Council England’s ambitious strategy, not just at launch but for the next 10 years. The concept and rallying cry ‘Let’s Create’ is an open invitation to all, to get involved. Its simplicity is its strength. We hope that others will take it on and use it, creating their own interpretations,” says OPX CEO Frances Jackson.
The OPX team are always busy exploring visual and written possibilities, and in this case, it was a piece of writing that changed everything. Art Director Liliana Saldanha explains. “We knew our writer performed spoken word after-hours, but we hadn’t briefed him to write a piece like that. He distilled the strategy, and when the creative team got together to discuss his ideas, we thought he’d written this to be performed. He hadn’t, but maybe subconsciously that came through because that’s how it sounded to us”.
And so the video, using footage from around the country, became a direct interpretation of those words. The spoken-word delivery informed the narrative but also the choice of imagery which couldn’t be passive — it had to capture the imagination of the public and encourage participation.
“We wanted images that felt raw and unpolished. We all agreed that we should be creating something that gives you goosebumps, that makes you want to be a part of it.”
A blank slate
We used the idea of a white canvas to signal a starting point. It’s applied to the cover of the “Let’s Create” book that outlines ACE’s ten-year strategy and is also delivered across multiple channels. It’s used on the website to represent a campaign that will develop over time. The simplicity of the black and white that runs throughout the website is an invitation to people to start creating, and recognition — on our part and Arts Council England’s — that we’re opening a door for people to go on and create themselves.
Arts Council England chief executive, Darren Henley says their main priority is ensuring that arts and culture feel just as relevant to people from different backgrounds.
As an agency built on creativity, we can closely identify with what they are trying to achieve and the importance of a rallying call to arms. We therefore felt completely committed to ensuring Arts Council England were able to deliver a strategy to inspire. This is what we believe will ensure longevity for their ten-year strategy.
Doing things differently
“I think one of the challenges is that we’re always trying to explore many digital approaches when it comes to the work we do, and in doing so, things can sometimes get complex. But with Arts Council England, accessibility was the main thing they wanted to push,” says designer Zoë Coles. “We had to think much more about page readers, contrasts of colour, overlaying texts onto images, and how to accommodate someone if they were blind for example. Arts Council England is all about inclusivity and providing everyone with the same experience regardless of disability, age, gender and anything else.”
The typeface was again born out of the need for accessibility. We wanted to use an outline typeface (conceptually this supported the idea of ‘Let’s Create’ being a frame for the creativity of others) but for this to work, a new typeface had to be built. We enlisted the help of the brilliant type designers, Dalton Maag, to create ‘Let’s Create Outline’ which could be used across channels and platforms.
“Let’s Create” is deliberately focused on openness.
This ten-year strategy aims to broaden people’s views about what art can be. It is not just about ballet and the opera. It is about involving everybody of every background in art and culture that feels relevant to them.