Texas Cultural Trust

Brand Identity, Brand Strategy

Brand identity for the statewide nonprofit organization with the mission to support the arts and art education initiatives.

The Texas Cultural Trust came to Pentagram Austin with an interesting challenge. As the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in the state of Texas, the TxCT wanted a new identity that could represent the broad range of art disciplines they advocate. The organization’s previous logo, an image of a paintbrush with a Lone Star flag overlaid on its bristles, did a good job of representing the art of painting but it didn’t symbolize the diversity of other art disciplines the TxCT supports including music, dance, performance, theater, fashion design, digital arts, printmaking, sculpture, photography, drawing, ceramics, filmmaking, graphic design and more.  

Pentagram Austin tackled a similar identity challenge in 2006 when the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science wanted an identity that could represent the wide range of scientific subject matter exhibited at the museum. 

The Pentagram team solved that problem by creating a dynamic logotype where the letter “o” in the word Perot (framed by brackets symbolic of the museum’s distinctive square building) changes and revolves through a series of round, “o-shaped” pictograms representing an array of scientific disciplines. Thus the Perot Museum’s customizable identity solution has the capability to represent fossils, archeology, biology, dinosaurs, ornithology, chemistry, natural sciences, astronomy, sports medicine, physics, engineering computer science or just about any subject addressed by the institution. At the time the Pentagram design team provided the Perot museum with an extensive set of circular pictograms to choose from and created an animation sequence they could use on their website and other digital platforms. 

Inspired by the diversity of that project, done nearly 15 years ago, the Pentagram Austin team decided to take a similar approach in order to create a contemporary, dynamic identity for Texas Cultural Trust. 

The words “Texas Cultural Trust,“ centered, stacked and set all-caps in Tungsten, a handsome, condensed typeface designed by Hoefler & Co., is the primary wordmark in the new type-based identity system. The letter “X” in the logotype, the literal and symbolic heart of the word “TEXAS,“ splits in half creating a sliding frame where a variety of images representing an array of creative disciplines can be displayed. 

In print the split letter “X” forms two arrows that point symbolically toward the featured art in the frame. An endless stream of arts imagery can be switched in and out routinely. On the Trust’s new website designed by Pentagram (launching soon) the identity is animated so that a variety of imagery slides in and out sequentially in a rapid clip. The animation can also be used on other digital platforms like social media and e-newsletters. 

The primary Texas Cultural Trust wordmark is in a dark shade of blue and the distinctive “split X” letterform, which can also be used as a standalone icon, is Lone Star flag red. In addition to the X logo the design team created a TxCT acronym wordmark that can be used by itself or with the inclusion of art imagery.

The Trust’s six main programs—Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Art Can, Texas Young Masters, Texas Women for the Arts, Arts and Digital Literacy, and Partners in Arts—share the main Texas Cultural Trust logotype but each program gets their own color.

The main TxCT and program identities can be used in several lockups and in a variety of color scenarios. Information and instruction on proper application of the new identity tools is spelled out in a comprehensive style guide. 

Next up for the Pentagram Austin team is a complete rethinking of the actual medal the Texas Cultural Trust bestows on accomplished Texas artists at its Texas Medal of the Arts Awards. The 2019 honorees included photographer Mark Seliger, fine artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, musician Boz Scaggs, performer Jennifer Holliday, fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, author Stephen Harrigan, actor Matthew McConaughey and more. The design of the medal will be take its clues from the new identity.

Now Texas Cultural Trust has a flexible, all-inclusive wordmark that not only represents the wide array of creative endeavors they support, they also have a contemporary identity system that appeals to both artists and the state government and business leaders they partner with on a regular basis.

DJ Stout
Project team
Roxy Torres
Tyler Cogburn
View all images