Fondazione Prada, Mediolan.

Art branding

Art branding today is one of the most curiosity-driven communication strategies.

Art branding
Author: Igor Gałązkiewicz, Translation: Dostępny
Text style

Art branding today is one of the most curiosity-driven communication strategies. Based on witty, creative, yet efficient dialogue between art and business.

A global phenomenon, one of the most interesting trends in modern communication, although as a concept has been known for ages. How so? Because harnessing artistic expression to foster economic, social or political objectives simply emulates the timeless immutability. Art branding facilitates the design of unique products, services and engaging brands. Moreover, it allows to accomplish the non-commercial agenda, and promote culture-fostering competences. Because art evokes emotions, enhances consumer experience (UX) and proliferates universal values, which are unquestionably timeless. Therefore, Apple harnesses one of its products to make a feature-length movie, based on one shot at St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum, while Hans Zimmer writes music to epitomize the sound of electric BMW cars. Lavish fashion houses, just to mention Dior, Louis Vuitton, Moncler or Loewe are constantly striving to surpass the competition and provide products signed by top-notch, cosmopolitan artists. Art biennale or design fairs secure exclusive venues to display top global brands, ranging from Nike to AirBnb. While private art collections become an integral component of blue-chip employer branding emploi, and art initiatives are now deeply rooted in their marketing repertoire. Prada puts up its haute-couture at Sotheby’s, while Mercedes-Benz enlists to auction the G-class miniature concept models, created in collaboration with Virgil Abloh. Art is essential for building brand identities, as it is omnipresent at each and every angle of the brands universe. To commence with merchandising – T-shirts, shoes, bags to gigantic corporate concept museums, corporate profiles in social media or sophisticated boutiques boasting resemblance to art galleries. Art might play numerous roles in building reputation and relationships, it is a stardom both in commercial large-scale productions and niche projects.

Projekt – BMW Art Car Collection x Olafur Eliasson. Źródło:


How do we perceive our reality? Eventful? Definitely. One of the old Chinese adage goes: ‘May you live in interesting times’. The ‘interesting’ usually implies the times of trouble, abundance of challenges and turbulence . Pessimistic sarcasm is often a nasty and hateful habit, but what is truly intriguing is the mutual impact of curiosity and hardship. The routine of uneventful reality, and the steadiness of constant may result in some kind of numbness and stagnation when everyone cuddles in the comfort of their well-known, familiar and cozy nooks.

What fosters and stimulates progress, as history shows, is the challenge, hardship or crisis, which may also require a change of mindset while undertaking unconventional measures. The outcome might be surprising – just to mention the Renaissance, for instance, some singular inventions or even petty upswings. Regardless of the perspective and scale, the pattern is often convergent. Complacency is a state of stillness or feigned attempts. Significant steps are solely and potentially aimed at pertaining status quo.

Present times are undoubtedly eventful. Groundbreaking, challenging, phantom, but also overwhelmingly down to earth; a searching stage, pursuit, interpretation and management of whatever comes up; an afterthought of accomplishments and an unrestrained craving for more; longing for tangible benchmarks, people to look up to, spiritual life, elevated values or unambiguous principles. Whatever genuine is highly estimated and comes at a premium.

The need of being a part of community is so strong, that it became an asset eagerly used by the brands to accomplish their agendas. When juxtaposed with nihilism, hedonism, escapism – the triarchy which facing the lack on new ‘-isms’ in arts and culture took over as tools of new avant -garde, the avant-garde of consumption. Resultedly, harnessing and juggling culture codes to create a phenomenon per se. of deficit of new ‘isms’ in nouveau-avant-garde culture and art, the avant-garde of consumption.

Project - Ruinart x Liu Bolin.
Projekt – Ruinart x Liu Bolin. Źródło:


Brands of today need to render very thoughtful decisions – on one hand to be as transparent as possible, yet not opaque nor invisible, and on the other – to be digitally salient, yet not ephemeral. The artistic expression allows to order brand values into a consistent narration and embed it in reality. That being said, it needs to be reiterated that consistence and reliability in business are as crucial nowadays as empathy and sensitivity.



There are close to none unique, ‘endemic’ objects anymore to be purchased only at a specific place of origin – whether produced or made. Almost everything, once captured and published on Instagram or other digital media or forum may instantly be dispersed to be known in the most distant nooks of the world.

Suffice to consider the offer of boutiques or department stores. While straining to accentuate different angles of localization, the mingle of brands and products bearing great resemblance is a fact. Objects and services are so much alike, that pursuit of uniqueness requires to design such an experience from a distinct perspective. Arts seems to come to the rescue being a perfect medium. Even if reproduced, boasts an outstanding character and may create simultaneously an endless number of unique bonds and relations with each and every recipient or target audience large-scale.

Commercial space - Aesop x Luc Guadagnino.
Przestrzeń handlowa/eksppozycyjna – Aesop x Luc Guadagnino, Rzym. Źródło:!/store?store=106&section=store


Currently, when compared with previous decade, clients interact with brands differently. More importantly, they are nowadays expressing their own expectations towards them. To commence with a typical life-standard approach, supporting pursuit of a kind of lifestyle and design we seek, to addressing more intellectual, emotional and complex needs; juggling competences between the brand and consumer, which eventually affects its character and the outline of what it brings to the table. In order to engage such a consumer audience, we need to tell a story deeply rooted in cultural heirloom, embracing many variables not solely in terms of art, but also sociology, economics, urban-planning, architecture or ethnology. The bonds currently built by consumers with brands shall be based on reciprocity, since considering these as a status symbol or even life-standard synonym becomes a secondary objective. Brands’ missions should involve being the ambassadors of culture and its heralds. Awareness-based consumption entails change of communication approach, hence should rely on partnership and interactive dialogue.


Art allows to render exceptional experience, in particular when the current market is saturated with products bearing little to none resemblance. Yet the consumers started communicating with the brands quite distinctly than before. Moreover, they are boldly expressing their own expectations towards them. Whether it concerns a typical life-standard approach, supporting pursuit of a kind of lifestyle and design we would like to be surrounded by, to addressing more intellectual, emotional and complex needs.

There are numerous reasons to back the implementation of art branding as a communication strategy. The artistic expression may, however, result in being not solely essential but an emotional medium. Meanwhile it is a status symbol, but also an icon of sensitivity and vision. In terms of business it may become a storytelling canvas, embracing the culture capital and superior objectives that might stand behind.

Instalation - COS x Studio Swine.
Instalacja – COS x Studio Swine (Salone del Mobile, 2017). Źródło:


  1. Building a reputation of an engaged brand, which is genuine and authentic, and boasts to have quite extensive socio-cultural horizons. Moreover, understanding a non-business agenda, which should be addressed in a modern world.
  2. Building the brand standing as a cultural phenomenon – brand as an institution
  3. Refreshing, and specification of public image, change in positioning or precise targeting, to render distinct character and identity
  4. Building strong organization emploi, art as an Employer Branding tool
  5. Extending product/service portfolio
  6. Significant leap in brand recognition and brand potential
  7. Designing consumer-experience and engaging contexts of the brand
  8. Building brand community
Film – Jenn Nkiru, „ Black to Techno”, seria Gucci „Second Summer of Love”. 


In the times of insecurity, confusion and conflicting signals, overflow of information, including fake news, art seems to remain the least affected mean of communication. Facilitates brand image consolidation, enhances social responsibility dialogue and elicits mindboggling brand storytelling. Their openness and authenticity will leverage their success. At present, brands should communicate their clear vision on how to build culture capital and inspire their audience. The pandemics proves that these are the exact expectations to be addressed in the future. When looked at as a binary result test: true involvement and pseudo-marketing buzz. Moreover, it is crucial to assure steadiness and continuity, which provides the feeling of security and calls for establishing long-term relations.

To paraphrase the well-known statement by Marshall McLuhan, who claims that medium is information, we may boldly state, that today it is the brand that is considered a medium.

Establishing benchmarks and signposts facilitates navigation in the era of chaos, which is gracefully embraced with consumers’ gratitude in long-term perspective.

While, paradoxically, everything currently undergoes transformation, yet almost everything remains intact. Seems unreasonable at first glance, but after a careful scrutiny of how dynamically the market changes, launching new products, technologies or socio-economic and cultural trends, it might turn out that the dichotomy, when cross-referenced with our aspirations, cravings and goals, is a natural course of action. Hence, what is permanent, established in the process of forming our culture, customs and traditions needs to be interpreted through the lenses of a current status quo, which had been gravely transformed. Emerging trends and tendencies that have been hatching for quite some time now, such as the need for transparency (not invisibility/opaqueness), non-slogan uniqueness, authenticity in terms of visual aesthetic and ethical categories, are currently gaining value when juxtaposed with the reality of global distancing.


In terms of communication utility, art branding as a tool seems also rather comprehensive. On one hand it allows for strategic stepping stones, but also is quite superficial. A wide range of Arts, just to mention visual arts, design, architecture, heading towards performative art measures allows brands, at least the ones acknowledging and valuing arts autonomy respectively, to design their strategies accordingly, so as to bring what’s best stemming from such a dialogue. To ensure the gap is bridged between the worlds of art and business is addressed intriguingly and plausibly. What stands out when considering different models, methods and strategies, is a handful of key art branding spheres, which are often intertwined. Regarding volatility of the competitive market and consumer preferences, it would be immensely difficult to ensure impeccable sterility and concepts being carved in stone for life.

Product - Max Mara x Renzo Piano - Whitney Bag.
Produkt – Max Mara x Renzo Piano – Whitney Bag. Źródło:

Key art branding spheres and trends

  1. Introducing art, architecture and design into long-term communication strategies
  2. Corporate art collections and brand museums
  3. A phenomenon of artistic/ exclusive line of signature products
  4. Artists as personal brands
  5. Cultural entities as brands and brands as mecenates of culture
  6. Art as a communication tool to establish the brand world and the consumer experience (POS such as shops, showrooms, displays, installations, pop-ups, etc.)
  7. Product placement or signature films
  8. Art biennale as a venue for displaying brands
  9. Scholarships and residence programmes
  10. Sponsoring 2.0 – twist in the concept of brands as passive sponsors to active curators
  11. Art as a tool to change perception and build brand reputation and service offer, including reaching beyond limits, and merging categories


The range of phenomenon and engaging market advocates of almost each and every category simply proves art branding to be successful. Nowadays, the key to success entails values, engagement, emotional empowerment, aesthetic, intellectual or emotional accomplishment. In the times of overwhelming ‘abundance and plenty’ it entails an undeniable competitive advantage. Just to mention Nike, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Absolut, BMW, IKEA, COS – their strategy seems to bear tangible fruit. Not solely does it improve sales and revenue, but also builds the strong standing of the brand. What needs to be reiterated, though, is the fact that such an unprecedented abundance and plenty in every category of products or services makes consumers, who are currently even more contestant and well informed, more prone to whim. Therefore the more resilient the relations, the more loyal the consumers.


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