Alexander Isley Firm Goes Forward By Looking Back

For the past few years Alexander Isley Inc. has been working with Young Audiences New York to help support their mission of placing visual and performing artists in under-resourced New York City public school classrooms and neighboring communities. The organization is expansive, originating a wide range of residencies, performances, family activities, and hands-on pre-professional workshops for students.


The design firm was asked to help organize and focus the messaging of their outreach and communication initiatives. Alexander Isley notes that “Oftentimes, the first thing designers want to do when updating an organization’s look is to introduce a new logo. We think one should only do this if there’s a problem with what’s currently in place. In this case we knew one thing for certain: We’d go forward by looking back.”


This meant going back to the original look of a distinctive yellow sun logo that had been created in the early 1970s by Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar, but which had been modified over the years. From there, the firm introduced a distinctive collaged approach to the organization’s communication materials, built around a series of large handmade “A” shapes, and incorporating the Young Audiences logo. While the approach had been introduced earlier for selected events, 2017 saw implementation of the full program for identifying and promoting all Young Audiences New York initiatives.