Creating an unexpected take on the familiar

Communications Concept platform

  • Concept
  • Design
  • Art Direction

Client Contact:

David Hyams


Melanie Morris

The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts were hosting an international exhibition of working reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Machines. The proposition wasn’t to communicate the ingenuity of the machines themselves, but more the imagination and genius behind them. The Wellington audience is very familiar with strongly themed exhibitions such as these and the challenge involved making it relevant and interesting to a wide audience. Stakeholders and sponsors who were funding the project had to have their special interests recognised.

Previous publicity for the exhibition from other cities around the world had taken a very clichéd path. We decided to present it in a more contemporary manner, playing up the unique character of da Vinci himself, asking people to look at him with fresh eyes, to see the genius behind the man. Contemporary type arrangements played out in silver and on clean whites were interplayed with intense colour within the type.

The creative was used widely across press, outdoor and in posters, flyers, programmes and event collateral. The opening event was hugely successful. All sponsors, patrons and stakeholders were very engaged. Attendance to the exhibition over the months it was open exceeded expectations and as a consequence the event succeeded in return-on-investment expectations for the Academy.