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An Energetic Identity for a Public Art Icon

The Challenge

Eager to establish themselves as a beacon in contemporary art—and cement their place in the legacy of public art in Chicago—ART on THE MART came to Firebelly looking for a complete brand transformation. It was paramount for the new brand to connect with savvy enthusiasts, casual observers, collaborators—and everyone in between.

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Art on The Mart


Art + Design



  • Newcity
  • Colossal

Awards & Recognition

Project Team

  • Will Miller: Concept, Design Direction, Design
  • Ruth Lin: Design
  • Dean Sweetnich: Design
  • Elaine Hancock: Strategy
  • Betsy Lam: Development
  • Bryant Smith: Development


Through close collaboration and focused research, we arrived at brand positioning and visual identity that taps into the broad appeal of the collective moments they create. We reimagined their static identity as a dynamic, fluid system; pulling inspiration from the vivid projections that transform the larger-than-life building —and the hearts and minds of everyone in its vicinity.

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Fluid Brand Identity

To develop a fresh visual identity for ART on THE MART (and play nicely with our team partners), we aimed to expand upon established Mart branding while ensuring the identity had a uniquely recognizable and memorable look of its own — familiarity with an extremely ownable twist.

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The identity was designed to be a luminous, kinetic system drawing inspiration from viewers’ experiences on site.


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We pulled from a wide spectrum of inspirational touch points that included dancing light on the Chicago River, the soft movement of projected video, subtle reflections on surrounding glass, and the art deco style of the Mart itself. Channeling these elements, the identity aspires to evoke a sense of motion and radiance roused by the location, history, and innovative technology of projecting digital art onto an architectural icon.

“The brand visually reflects and responds to the diverse range of art and visitor experiences on display.”

— Cynthia Noble, Executive Director

Campaigns: Layout System

The seasonal projection lineup required a fresh perspective on organizing design assets. The campaign” approach allowed all teams to focus on an operational sequence, starting with art layouts tailored to communication and marketing channels. These layouts were designed to interact with imagery and video through three modes: silhouette,” freeze frame,” and bending light.” Each mode provided a visual path to share an artist’s unique work while conveying key information and a graphic summary of the artist’s projection. In short, organize, design, share, repeat. 

Campaigns: Color System

The campaign color system creates adaptive palettes that influence the logo and overall design tones.

The brand palette was developed with Chicago at the center. A primary black and white was accented by a core fiery red, river blue, and natural wheat. Each campaign color system used adaptive combinations influenced by artist projections and artwork. Combinations were formed by selecting three color variants from the artwork combined with primary black and white. How the colors intermingle allow each campaign palette to be serene, lively, dynamic, or electrifying.


The ART on THE MART website was the opportunity to extend the identity into the digital ether. Firebelly designed and developed the informational, browsable and playful aspects of the site giving viewers multiple entry points to learn more about projections, artists, and how to plan a visit. We’re looking at you, savvy neighbors, art lovers, and excited tourists.

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The project started with key milestones for the moment but we continue to dream big, explore the what-if’s, and pursue ideas that allow the brand to show up in new ways, helping to organize and catalog the breadth and variety of work for the long haul. 

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As the identity took shape, primary brand typefaces, The Future and The Future Mono by Klim Type Foundry, were selected. These font families drew inspiration from the era of The Mart’s construction while occupying innovative and unconventional typographic space. They pay homage to Paul Renner’s 1927 classic Futura and are prominently featured throughout our projection campaigns, email newsletters, social media, and the fully redesigned ART on THE MART website.

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Brand Guide

Our brand guidelines packaged up an expressive and adaptive design system into cohesive and accessible guidance. They were essential in aiming toward consistency across multiple teams and building a strong connection with the target audience. It continues to serve as a valuable tool for new team members and external partners, providing a quick understanding of the brand’s visual and messaging standard recommendations.

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