The Smith Center for the Arts

CASE STUDY: The merger of the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Geneva Arts Development Council forming the Smith Center for the Arts

Client: Smith Center for the Arts

Project: Branding the newly formed Smith Center for the Arts

Duration: Phase I – five weeks. Phase II – eight months, ongoing


Geneva was too small of a city to support two arts organizations, which seemed to be competing with one another for members, grants, time on the calendar, representation and board members. It was determined that these two organizations could accomplish their missions more effectively by working as one.

The new organization was formed in November 2008 through the merger of the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council, Inc. and the Geneva Arts Development Council. In 2009, the Board renamed the organization the Smith Center for the Arts, Inc. They needed a new identity and instantly recognizable brand, so they turned to InHouse Design.


We started by meeting with the committee assigned to getting the new logo designed and implemented. We worked closely with a small group of board members from the merged organizations to set the criteria for the new logo. The solution also had to project a subtle versatility that would continue to inspire creative brand applications enabling the organization to grow within the brand while maintaining its effectiveness.

We developed four statements that summarized the goals of the organization and were used to inspire the visual solution:

  1. An outreach organization with vibrant energy and strength…
  2. The capturing of one of the Center’s greatest assets as the central element…
  3. A Center for arts of all kinds, performing and visual…
  4. The logo should project a playful sophistication.

We then created a logo that was purely conceptual, not an illustration (which would have been too limiting).

In the next phase, InHouse used the power and versatility of the simple solution, color pallet and subtle, graphic illustrative rendering of the symbol. We extended the brand through traditional marketing applications with professional design consistency and tasteful typographic finesse.


This well thought-out logo and branding effort broadened the public perception of what the Smith Center for the Arts stands for. It helped to increase their success in securing grants as well as potential programming opportunities. One example of this is the Club Series which utilizes venues other than the Smith Opera House. It set the stage for future growth and is versatile enough to continue to grow with them.