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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April 7, 2020

Art School in the time of COVID-19: Support + Resilience + Community

April 7, 2020 How quickly life changed in a matter of weeks. We went from mid-term critiques to addressing a global pandemic by taking our curriculum virtual. Thanks to our dedicated faculty, KCAI is fostering a new way of learning, researching and making. As a school of art and design, we are a community full of innovators and creative problem solvers. That is how we intend to approach the exceptional situation that we find ourselves in.  Beginning last week, students and faculty are meeting through video conferencing, discussion boards, and conference calls – one-on-one and in groups. As this new way of living and learning unfolds, we will share the inspiring stories of creativity and resilience within our community. How has our faculty adapted studio-based classes to on-line teaching? What kinds of studio practices have students built at home? What does it mean to be an art student in the time of COVID-19? In the coming weeks, we will share with you stories of adaptation and perseverance. And someday (hopefully soon) we will recall how KCAI– its students, faculty and staff– was resilient in a time of turmoil.  Be well, Tony Jones ᴄʙᴇ The Nerman Family President

April 2, 2020

New KCAI Cares Fund Provides Student Relief

A Message From The Nerman Family President Tony Jones In the past month, we have adapted daily life to an entirely new version of “normal” and done things we never thought possible. We are in this together, yet each of us has experienced this pandemic in very personal ways. Several KCAI students have lost their employment during this time and many families are experiencing hardship. In this time of uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that KCAI is part of a supportive and generous community. For those who have reached out and asked how you can help, the college has created two ways to support our students and campus: KCAI Cares Fund. This newly created fund is in direct response to the growing and immediate needs of our students. KCAI Cares will provide financial assistance grants up to $300 for students who are unable to meet essential expenses, such as groceries, utilities or rent. KCAI Annual Fund. An existing fund that supports our commitment to every person at the college. During this time, KCAI is compensating faculty, staff, technicians, work study students, models in studios and those who provide services that our community relies upon like security, facilities and dining for residents who read more…