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Onsite offline. Offsite online.

West Space is a vital non-profit, artist-led organization in Melbourne, Australia, focused on supporting local and underrepresented artists at all stages of their careers. Base worked with the West Space team to evolve their brand identity, and develop a new digital platform that extends their art and ideas beyond the gallery space (while we were all stuck at home!). This involved close collaboration and heaps of trust, since the majority of the process played out over Zoom.

Since its inception, West Space has challenged definition and championed diversity, creative freedom, and risk-taking. So early on we realized we needed to avoid a style-guide-driven approach to branding, in favour of developing a visual language over time.

We began with a strong foundation; a new industrious condensed sans-serif inspired by scaffolding. Its exaggerated punctuation gives the organization a distinctive visual language, while a unique set of symbols/emojis ties to its program.

Operating as a metaphor for the role the gallery plays in supporting Australian artists and their work, it also acts as the scaffolding of the brand. A platform upon which to experiment and build.

We introduced West Space Offsite: a new digital platform rapidly developed during Melbourne’s COVID lockdown to enable publishing artist-led content online. It sits both beside and beyond West Space’s physical exhibition program, extending art and ideas outside of the gallery space.

It was really important for the platform to showcase “widescreen” images and videos as successfully as it does long-form writing. So we developed two quite different interpretations of the site for desktop and mobile. Read on the phone; view and be immersed on a larger screen.

To differentiate West Space from Melbourne’s other contemporary art institutions, our idea was to shift the gallery from a conventional “white cube” to a “Rubik’s cube” – a model that’s more dynamic, participatory and colourful, in keeping with its existing values and aim to build an inclusive community.

Like the Offsite project, social media played a vital role in helping West Space function during lockdown. It continues to be a key tool for experimentation in establishing an engaging and recognisable voice, through campaigns linked to specific exhibitions and events.

Coinciding with a move into a new physical gallery space in Collingwood Yards – an independent not-for-profit social enterprise – our work marks a new chapter in the West Space story. But it’s far from over. We’re continuing our collaboration with an upcoming website refresh, an ongoing poster series and a new publication.