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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July 28, 2020

Large Scale Hilgemann Implosion Sculpture Installed on Campus

A 20-foot sculpture that used to sit on Park Avenue in New York City was installed Tuesday morning on campus. Double Stack by Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US), is 20 ft. high and made from stainless steel.  Double Stack is the second work that has been generously loaned to the college by the artist and Zahner Metal Conservation. Dancers was on campus in 2017-18 and now is part of Leawood’s Public Art Collection. This installation is part of KCAI’s plan to place large-scale works on the campus, on a constantly-changing basis. They connect the large public artworks already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the works in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Previous sculptures on campus include This is NOT a Refuge by Anila Quayyum Agha and The Consistency of Change by Caleb Bowman, (’99 Sculpture). See how Hilgemann implodes these giant sculptures here.

July 27, 2020

Recent Grad Designs Mural at Zoo’s Elephant Exhibit

Watching elephants frolic in the new waterfall pool is delighting visitors at the recently renovated Elephant Expedition at the Kansas City Zoo. The pachyderm’s passion for H2O is also the theme of another one of the exhibition’s new features, a vibrant mural by Anh Le, a 2020 graduate of KCAI’s Illustration program. The large-scale panorama on the Learning Cottage at the exhibit entrance shows animal families coming together at a waterhole in the wilds of Africa. “I wanted the whole scene to have a warm, inviting vibe for visitors.  It gives them a little peek into the world they are entering,” said Le. The project was created when Le was a senior in KCAI’s MICRO Agency, which connects Kansas City businesses with the creative talent of KCAI students. Several students presented designs to the Zoo team and Le’s interpretation made the final cut. This is the second time KCAI students have designed murals for the Zoo. Vaughn Parrish (’19 Illustration) created the underwater themed wall in Stingray Bay. Le’s motivation for the mural is simple — to bring happiness. “With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we need a spark of positivity and joy. I hope people read more…