A new logo and new leadership help ensure a beloved event’s legacy

Monadnock Area Art Association Logo

It still amazes me that during one short hour on a Saturday at the beginning of November, I agreed to be President of the Monadnock Area Artists Association (MAAA) and unveiled a new logo for the group. Inducting new officers and Board members and launching a logo may have happened quickly and efficiently but the story starts about a year ago when a meeting was held to engage more volunteers and discuss the future of the 65-year-old club. A year later, the Monadnock Area Artists Association has a logo reflecting the beauty and wonder they bring to the world.

New Logo

Although I am an amateur pastel artist, I am a veteran graphic designer so it wasn’t easy for me to think about the future of MAAA without wanting it to have a more appropriate logo. I often said to myself and anyone who would listen, “The organization deserves a logo reflecting the talent of its members and the quality of the art being produced.” The association’s longtime logo, although serviceable, did nothing to distinguish the group as an arts organization. The silhouette of the mountain is a technique used frequently in the region. Some examples are shown here.

The idea of using a work of art in the logo seemed natural so members were asked for permission to use their Monadnocks in mocking up a design. Several MAAA members made their Monadnock paintings available for the mock-up phase, including Carol Corliss, Jeanne Thieme, Gill Truslow and Mary Iselin.

After some typography suggestions, two designers were asked to help refine the logo concept. Carolyn Isaak and Skylar Curtis shared their expertise and opened up the design’s possibilities.

Applying the tool used for decades called “12 Characteristics of a Good Symbol” (see below) the new design passes with flying colors. The new logo is appropriate, interesting, makes a positive impression and more accurately reflects the talent of the group. A logo wants to bring forth what is unique about an organization, what sets it apart from any other group. Mount Monadnock works as a logo because of the group’s geographic location, plus many artists paint or draw the mountain. Using a piece of fine art as a symbol immediately tells the viewer that this is an arts entity.

12 Characteristics of a Good Logo

  1. Is it unique, creative, interesting?
  2. Is it too abstract for the intended audience?
  3. Does it make a positive impression?
  4. Is it appropriate?
  5. Does it “move” up and to the right?
  6. Does it come together as a tight unit?
  7. Does it have good figure/ground relationship?
  8. Does it avoid trapped white space?
  9. Can it be reproduced at 1/2 inch?
  10. Will it reproduce in just black and white?
  11. Is it bold enough to stand out?
  12. Is it easily recognized and recalled?

Deciding which Monadnock image to use boiled down to the best aspect ratio and figure ground relationship. So many beautiful images could have been effective, but Mary Iselin’s painting checked all the boxes. Mary is a well-known local artist and longtime participant in Art in the Park, so no one disagreed with this exquisite selection.

Fun background on the font selection: A pageful of type configurations were considered. Using a swash character to highlight “Artists” was an irresistible, if irreverent option.

It won’t be too long before Art in the Park planning begins. A poster mockup shows how the association can remind people of its legacy with a greyed-out old logo while promising a bright future with the distinctive new symbol.

New leadership

The wonderful group of artists who has presented Art in the Park since 1958 reached a pivotal moment in late 2022. The foundations of the Monadnock Area Artists Association (MAAA) were strong and the membership was strong… but the volunteer leadership had been giving too much for too long.

Former President Gill Truslow and Newsletter Editor Carol Corliss convened the MAAA annual meeting to seek direction. A number of people had suggestions but the renaissance didn’t begin until the spring meeting when artist Sue Doyle stepped up to assume the Presidency on an interim basis. And Kris Stewart, an artist new to the area, offered to run Art in the Park, admitting that online registrations and e-communications were not her strongpoint. I recognized that e-communications and online management were right up my alley so I joined Kris to handle the behind-the-scenes e-functions while training for a leadership role as the group’s Vice-President.

Steps taken that day helped assure the success of Art in the Park over the following Labor Day weekend. The event’s volunteer committee handled dozens of detailed functions and 66 artists shared their work with the public. More about Art in the Park.

Progress continued at the MAAA 2023 Annual Meeting on November 4. Another artist new to the area, Kate Shaffer, had previously expressed interest and was elected Vice-President. I took over the Presidency from Sue Doyle. At the same meeting, long-serving Treasurer Paul Battey agreed to consult with a new Treasurer. Kris Stewart brings not only event management experience but tax preparation skills to the organization and consented to be the group’s new Treasurer. Kevin Whitfield agreed to continue as the group’s Secretary and Gill Truslow continues as the appointed Membership Secretary. Artist Gail Shelley was elected a Board Member-at-Large and Gill Truslow joins her in that role, rounding out the Board.

These elections set the Monadnock Area Artists Association on a path of fulfilling our responsibilities as a 501 c-3 and adhering to our ByLaws.