October 16, 2019

Imagine What the World has Yet to See

Imagine what the world has yet to see. from KCAI Communications on Vimeo.

As Kansas City Art Institute navigates its way through the excitement of new academic programs, curricular changes and campus additions, all to invest in the education and experience of some of the most gifted students in the country, we are pleased to showcase the college’s new visual identity. Rooted in foundational elements of art and design, sound philosophies and an earnest interest in reflecting back to the community the truth of who we are, the new KCAI brand will usher us through a new era of educating fearless creative leaders.

With the input and advice of faculty, staff, alumni, board members, and students KCAI has launched a new brand that reflects the expressive, collaborative and rooted nature of the college. Local creative agency DMH was chosen for this important work because of its strong KCAI ties and history of hiring KCAI alumni and student interns.

Brand Essence

Brand Essence

Imagine What the World Has Yet to See…the essence of the brand, gets to the core of who we are – what our students are doing in their studios every day. Like our students, it’s the heart and soul of our brand. It speaks to the inquisitive and curious nature of our students and the tenacity of their dedication. To their grit and determination. It reminds you that our students and our faculty are working towards changing the world, creatively through art and design. And more, it invites you to imagine with us – what’s next?


A great brand mark tells a story. Our brand mark translates our story into a bold, visual language. This is greater than a single logo – it is an active identity system with endless adaptations. Our core mark, built on a 4X4 grid, is the cornerstone of the system. It is a balanced display of structure and versatility and can be creatively expressed to communicate the complexities of the college and the range of our academic and programmatic offerings.  Each application of the mark has three squares of the grid removed. The three removed squares, or revealed blocks, serve as a visual motif that can connect the specific mark in a  piece.

Logo as Gallery

When the blocks within our mark aren’t black or white, they act as a gallery to showcase artwork from our students. This is a uniquely powerful characteristic within our flexible identity system. When implemented correctly, this application sparks curiosity, evokes imagination and shows the fearless art created through KCAI. This function allows the students to truly see themselves in KCAI.

KCAI Color Palette


Walk into any studio in KCAI and you’re likely to see a palette covered in acrylic paint, various Pantone swatches, a colorful flood of fiber, glossy glazes and more. As artists and designers, we eat, sleep and breathe colors. But our work is created through bare sheets of paper, clean linen canvases, unnamed files and empty memory cards. These items all share one thing in common: blank space. It is in this void where art, design, words and ideas find life. For these reasons, our primary colors are black and white, representing our future filled with creative potential.

Our secondary palette represents our rich history, our roots in Kansas City, where we’ve resided since 1885. This color palette is pulled directly from the historic Vanderslice Hall, a hub for activity that echoes significance across campus including our brand identity. Vanderslice is a red hue pulled from the foundational bricks and Patina is taken from the oxidized teal seen delicately adorning the mansion. Detail, a deep emerald slate, and Limestone, a warm beige, are used as contrasting balances of color.

Brand Guidelines

Check out our full brand guidelines.

KCAI Merchandise

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November 13, 2019

Sculpture Chair Jill Downen Selected to Exhibit at Crystal Bridges

The Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced that Sculpture Clair Jill Downen (’89 Painting) has been selected as one of 60 artists for State of the Art 2020. As part of opening the new contemporary art space, the Momentary, the exhibition will be on view at the Momentary and Crystal Bridges from February 22 through May 24, 2020, free for all visitors. More than 100 artworks will be featured in State of the Art 2020— most created in the last three years. At both the Momentary and Crystal Bridges, artwork will include paintings, sculpture, photography, video, performance and mixed media. Downen’s art envisions a symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, destruction, and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities. The work that will be exhibited, Three Dimensional Sketchbook, is a cabinet of drawers that viewers may open to view a range of material sketches. Each drawer features a label and keyword which poetically corresponds to its contents. With the opening of each drawer, the artwork reveals a visual-spatial language in miniature scale. “The opportunity to exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is meaningful in that I can read more…

November 12, 2019

Shop for Art Made By Students at the End-of-Semester Sale

One Weekend. Fifteeen Exhibitions. Take home original artwork made by KCAI’s talented students at the End of Semester Exhibition and Sale. Browse all the studios on our 16-acre campus to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and take in the amazing work on display. Make sure to visit each studio including Animation, Beals Studio, Ceramics, Fiber, Filmmaking, Foundation, H&R Block Artspace, Illustration, Interactive Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Graphic Design, and Sculpture, and a pop-up exhibition in Vanderslice Hall. All proceeds benefit individual artists and designers. You can start shopping at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, but in some cases, the artwork will stay on display until Sunday when it must be picked up. For a map of KCAI, located at 4415 Warwick in Kansas City, Mo., visit http://kcai.edu/campus-life/campus/. Don’t miss the End-of-Semester Exhibition and Sale at KCAI from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.