As a graphic designer the arts are obviously close to my heart. I was therefore very pleased to be asked by mac birmingham to work on a campaign for them. For anyone who doesn’t know, mac birmingham is the West Midlands’ premier arts centre, attracting over a million visitors a year. It features a cinema and theatre and hosts a wide range of exhibitions and workshops. Anyone is free to drop by, chat or work in its wonderful, open space and perhaps sample the delights of the cafe.
A positive response to negative news
The campaign I was asked me to work on was to be a response to the news that Birmingham City Council is cutting 70% of the mac’s funding. Losing such a large proportion of money is obviously problematic for a charity such as mac birmingham. However, rather than engage in angry protest they decided to take a different approach. Spurred on by words of support from their loyal user base, the marketing team decided to run a campaign that appealed to this strength of feeling. They were also inspired by the creativity and humour found in recent local, national and global public displays of support for social issues.
“If you love us, help us. Use us”
My brief was to design a bold and striking visual to accompany the core campaign message of “If you love us, help us. Use us”. The idea was that this visual should be akin to the recent protest placards, but adaptable to a variety of dimensions and media platforms.
Although a keen user of mac birmingham, I begun the project with some research in the form of a site visit. I tried to see and experience the building and its surroundings with fresh eyes. I generated some initial ideas, and after discussing these with the marketing team settled on the final design. The project involved a quick turnaround to take advantage of the current strength of feeling and support.
The mac birmingham post-cuts campaign so far
Given the overarching theme of ‘love’, it was apt that the campaign launched on Valentine’s Day. Initially it has been a predominantly digital campaign, but the design will be adapted for use in internal and external print display. The response so far has been fantastic. I’m proud to have played a small part in this hopeful and new chapter for a Birmingham institution.