A Rebrand + Redesign To Drive Engagement

September 20, 2018

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San Antonio recently ranked No. 1 in the country for its population growth. As this boom continues, the city is also gaining recognition for its buzzing tech, art and cultural scene. Once a slightly hidden gem, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is now emerging as one of the country’s leading museums.

As attention on SAMA continues to grow domestically and internationally, their stakeholders recognized the importance of not only redesigning the core of their digital presence, but also rebranding it. “Our team’s expertise across verticals uniquely positioned Zehner to develop a new brand strategy that could actively engage a broader demographic,” says Mick McCarthy, Chief Design Officer at Zehner. “Fulfilling a multi-faceted and sustainable vision, our team designed a site that not only celebrates SAMA’s global collection and aptitude for curating influential exhibitions, but also serves as a space to connect the community through art and culture.”

Establishing a new brand identity for SAMA required a delicate balance of heritage and innovation. Attracting new audiences is critical, while also remaining mindful that the modernized embodiment of the brand appeals to SAMA’s current constituencies. From this perspective, our team thoughtfully crafted a design and communications strategy that would actively speak to the influx of new San Antonio residents, the city’s tourism industry, and SAMA’s loyal advocates.

Zehner created a comprehensive styleguide to preserve the integrity of the brand. At the crux of SAMA’s reimagined identity, exists two essential elements: logomark and logotype. The use of clean lines and movement within the logomark represents modernity, while the more traditional logotype font face adheres to classic convention. This juxtaposition signifies the museum’s offering, while both the abbreviation of the name and full spelling plays into the conversational use of ‘SAMA’ by the community and public at large.

Our IA/UX design focused on the heart of the museum experience…its people. SAMA’s local and international audience of visitors, artists, scholars, and members were all carefully considered throughout the architecting of the user journey. We concentrated on building a vibrant digital space that not only highlights the museum’s significant works of art, but also immerses the user in a community center where they learn about additional opportunities to connect in meaningful ways. The new site celebrates the wide array of museum offerings including: SAMA’s robust educational programs for students of all ages, elevated museum shopping experience, outdoor film series, gallery meditations, the relocation of Jason Dady’s Tre Trattoria to the historic Hops House at SAMA, wine tastings, and much more.

Finally, we executed a full, new site-build to accentuate the design concepts, with a custom CMS, built on Django-CMS, and Shopify integration for speed, security and scalability. These technology selections alleviate operational pains for SAMA’s internal team and enable them to seamlessly update the site to meet the organization’s needs.

Throughout this entire process, we remained empathetic to client challenges and worked collaboratively to deliver optimum results. Of working with Zehner, SAMA’s Chief Engagement Officer Cary Marriott says, “Zehner was the perfect partner for this multi-layered project. They listened, collaborated, and brought creativity and expertise to a complex undertaking. Well managed from start to finish, they delivered what they promised: a website and fresh look for the Museum to inspire new visitors, members, and donors. And with an easy to manage CMS for our staff, we couldn’t be happier!”

With SAMA’s new brand and design experience, the user is engaged and educated on the transformational experiences the museum provides. The launch of this new solution connects with multiple demographics and helps to define this special and unique art mecca, as a must-see cultural destination for residents and tourists alike.



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