February 21, 2022
Our Mission to Support the Next Generation Designer
August 16, 2021
“The Cranbrook Academy of Art website is often the first official touchpoint that potential students have with the Academy. It is critical that the website clearly explain the untraditional academic structure of the Academy while capturing the unique attitude of the artists, designers, and architects who live and work there.” Amy Schwartz, Creative Director
Cranbrook Academy of Art is the nation’s top-ranked school devoted exclusively to graduate education in art, architecture, craft, and design. Each year, more than 100 self-motivated students come together to form an artistic community in which each individual develops with the mentorship of renowned Artists-in-Residence. Our goal was to accurately capture the unique spirit of this iconic institution and explain the unconventional academic structure to potential applicants.
We extended the existing brand (which was created by Elliel Saarinen in the 1930s and updated by Elliott Earls in 2014) to reflect the attitude of the Academy– bright, open, unpredictable yet structured, and work-focused. The new website is part of the Academy’s recruitment efforts. 11 newly designed recruitment pieces were created for each department in the Academy.
“By re-structuring the website, we are able to tell the Academy’s story in a new way. We also surface student work as a core part of the brand, giving it equal standing with the Academy name. This reflects that Cranbrook is a living community, ever evolving and changing with the times, while remaining true to itself.” Amy Schwartz, Creative Director
We sought to capture the feeling of living and working in this artistic community by creating a sense of space on the website. The pages are white and open, like a critique room wall or a blank slate for an artist to work upon. Student work is given equal prominence with the Academy’s logotype on the home page, which reflects that Cranbrook is a living community, ever evolving and changing with the times, while remaining true to itself. Large typography succinctly communicates what images cannot.
Small linework details reflect the architecture of the physical space, allowing the website to be a stand-in for the Academy itself.
Cranbrook Academy of Art is part of the 319-acre Cranbrook Educational Community, founded by George Gough Booth and his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, Detroit newspaper proprietors and philanthropists, who hired Eliel Saarinen to design the idyllic community.
Departments are led by practicing artists, designers and architects who each lead a robust studio practice. Cranbrook is a true community with Artists-in-Residence who live and work alongside our students. Cranbrook Academy of Art is ranked sixth in the nation among fine art graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. Of all the schools ranked in the top ten, Cranbrook Academy of Art has some of the most individual program-specific rankings, with seven departments ranked in the top 20 of their program.
Alumni have gone on to capture the imagination and accolades of some of the world’s most prestigious organizations, winning medals from the AIGA and AIA, Cooper Hewitt Design Awards, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, USA Fellowships, and they have been inducted into the American Craft Council College of Fellows. And Cranbrook continues to be, per capita, the highest producer of student Fulbright scholars in the United States.