Spark Impact empowers arts and culture organizations to work more effectively—providing valuable perspective to help clients better understand their purpose, shape priorities, and identify proof points that both highlight positive impacts and uncover areas of need.
The founder of Spark was one of Chalkbox Creative’s first clients when we helped design the cover art for his band’s debut record in 2004; we also created the initial branding for Spark’s launch six years ago. Since then, the firm’s mission (and audience) has shifted, and its visual identity needed to evolve to reflect that shift. Because Spark knows us, and knows how we work, they asked us to help again. And because we deeply respect the work they do, we were eager to take part.
Large, sophisticated clients
Spark’s clients include organizations that are highly respected and well-known: Carnegie Hall, The Rockefeller Foundation, The World Bank, Clinton Global Initiative, and many others. Leaders at these institutions trust Spark in part because founder David Lavin comes from an arts background—serving as “critical creatives,” he and his team are passionate about the purpose and work of each client.
Spark’s blend of artistry and analytics offers the ability to provide outside perspective with an insider’s understanding. We wanted the new identity to evoke both capabilities. Together, we evaluated the branding of Spark’s competitors and found there was a clear opportunity to differentiate Spark. We also researched several client organizations to learn more about what would feel comfortable to them. Dozens of concepts were produced, with a handful presented to Spark.
Dynamic and fluid, with a strong sense of purpose
The final branding utilizes a visual that began as a reference to music notation; with input from David, the concept evolved into a logo that is inspired by the movement of a conductor’s baton. As a conductor is directing musicians, guiding many different components to create something with a cohesive purpose, they also are measuring and segmenting time—defining a structure that ensures efficiency and alignment. The repeating vertical elements of the visual, combined with the flowing motion, create a sense of continuous improvement as well.
We consciously decided to leave the logo in a warm, dark gray, which allows the Spark identity to seamlessly integrate with client branding, and even adopt a client’s color if desired. Ultimately, Spark’s work is not about the firm itself—it is about empowering other organizations. By ensuring client branding remains front and center, Spark is able to reinforce its standing as an insider and close collaborator, further differentiating the firm from competitors that feel more like disconnected third parties.
This is a serious mark, yet one that feels comfortable and approachable at the same time. It is a particularly effective representation of Spark’s fusion of creative and evaluative work, and its rigorous pursuit of the growth and momentum that drive change.
‘Collaboration brings out the best in everyone’
Spark is yet another example of our desire to work with good people who are doing good work. It’s always rewarding to collaborate with other creatives: David’s input and inspiration served as a reminder that some things can’t be forced—we achieved a natural, compelling result by moving away from controlled lines and focusing on fluid sketching.
“I keep coming back to Josh and Chalkbox not only because the work is first-rate, but also because I love how they work,” David said. “As a creative person myself, I appreciate that Chalkbox makes us feel like a welcome partner in the process. It’s a true collaboration that brings out the best in everyone involved. I’m already looking forward to our next project together.”
Has your business evolved?
Businesses change over time, and so do their branding needs. Reaching the right audience requires an identity that accurately reflects your mission, your promise, your story. Is your brand in alignment with what your business has become? We can help you understand where you are today—and where you need to be. Get in touch today to learn more.
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