Now the dust has settled, the winner has been named and the exhibition settles into the final phase we can reflect on what a real pleasure it’s been to work with everyone at Towner Eastbourne over the past year on the Turner Prize 2023 identity.
We wanted the prize to feel like the the apex of Towner’s interconnected programme celebrating the art, creativity and cultural landscape of Eastbourne
(This blog was originally posted by our client, Towner Eastbourne — read it here: https://townereastbourne.org.uk)
Tangent has developed work for the prize previously, designing the identity and wayfinding system when Glasgow’s Tramway hosted the exhibition - so naturally, we were delighted to be asked back.
Identity systems within the art world can often feel impenetrable, and can potentially even serve as barriers for wider participation and engagement. Our main goal when initially considering what direction to take for this year’s prize was to develop something that felt accessible and open to everyone, reflecting the ethos of the gallery itself.
We were fortunate enough to be working within the context of Towner’s excellent identity system and retained elements of typography and colour to present the 2023 Prize as an extension of the Towner brand itself. With 2023 marking the centenary of the gallery we wanted the prize to feel like the the apex of Towner’s interconnected programme celebrating the art, creativity and cultural landscape of Eastbourne.
From the outset, we looked to the local environment for inspiration. Eastbourne is a beautiful coastal town, home to a beachfront that still bears all the hallmarks of a classic Victorian seaside resort. The identity we developed has no fixed messaging, but instead presents a suggestive visual aesthetic, based on the ebb and flow of tides, that was used to support diverse messaging at different stages of the campaign.
The tides flow quickly up, crash on the South Downs and recede slowly back - timeless, yet marking the passage of time. At a basic visual level the visuals and warm colour scheme represent the location and serve as bearers for typography and image - but they also suggest underlying connotations that we were interested in. Renewal, things washing away, the ebb and flow of art styles and concerns over the years.
This ‘ebb and flow’ also evokes the two-and-fro of ongoing conversation - conveying that the Turner Prize fundamentally exists to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. The accessible, bright styling of the identity was developed to encourage the public to feel empowered to participate in this conversation.
Working closely with the Towner team over the past year we applied the concept across digital, social, print, and outdoor. Within the exhibition environment the identity was scaled back, using line and typography in place of colour to ensure that it complimented rather than distracted from the work of the four shortlisted artists, Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker.
We’d like to thank everyone at Towner for the opportunity to work with them, and were proud to attend the award ceremony on 5 December, where Jesse Darling was honoured with the prize for his work, made from everyday detritus, sourced from across Eastbourne, to reflect the political and cultural instability of modern Britain. Jesse’s brilliant acceptance speech about the importance of art being for people from every background encouraged us that the work put in to make the identity as accessible and open to all had been the right approach to take.