Delaware Art Museum

Refocusing Brand to Support a New Strategic Plan

Brand Strategy & Identity

Rebrand, Discovery Research, Communication Audit, Audience Research, Persona Development, Organizational Values, Positioning Statement, Logo Development, Brand Guidelines, Website Development, Collateral Design


The Delaware Art Museum was founded in 1912 to promote the fine arts in the state. When they contacted Iris Creative, the Museum was nearing the end of a strategic planning process that sought to address cultural divides through art in a way that was financially sustainable. Before their vision could become reality, the Museum’s leadership knew they needed to re-focus their brand. Leadership recognized that to achieve this, it didn’t just need to do something different, it needed to be something different. And they needed to gain the support of their staff, funders, and community as they were emerging from a challenging financial position that left many people unhappy.

Using our AMIE process, we worked through Audience, Message, Image and Experience to develop positioning that would align with their goals.

Defining Audiences

We started with audience research, conducting interviews, surveys, discussion groups and more to determine what its people loved about the museum and what they wished it would become. Together we crafted key personas to represent audiences that would guide future marketing.

Developing Messaging

Research indicated that supporters valued the museum as foundational, classic and important but envisioned it becoming a more dynamic organization. A brand statement was developed positioning the Museum as the convener of the creative community in Greater Wilmington. The working group that collaborated on this process determined that claiming this role “allows us all to understand our world and connect with each other through art.” In the process they decided to adopt “DelArt” as their informal name to support this positioning. Together we established new, relevant values to guide how they make decisions.

Transforming Identity

The group concluded that changing DelArt’s visual identity would help signal the significant shift in the museum’s direction. We created a new logo system that balanced the ideas of classic and dynamic, blending the formal and informal names.

“Iris’s AMIE framework pushed us to prioritize what we need today while showing us how to evolve into what we want for the future. The process worked because it wasn’t delivered to us – we were an active part of defining our brand. Based on the enthusiastic response from our staff and community, we know we’ve built a great foundation for reaching our goals.”

— Molly Giordano, Executive Director, Delaware Art Museum

Crafting Experience

We then took the audience focus, messaging and image and wove them together into a new online experience for DelArt. With the audience personas and positioning in place, staff began to realign their programs and how they are marketed. This work connected their strategic plan to their programming.

Brand Immersion

Branding is a process, not a project, and a new brand takes time to become established. Since launching its new brand, DelArt has immersed itself in living it. Staff members now notice DelArt’s various personas at events. Future programming and exhibits—which the museum plans far in advance—have been developed using the lens of the new brand. Downtime during the pandemic was used to change the physical space to be more welcoming and inclusive. The community is showing up for DelArt’s events, and the museum anticipates growing engagement as pandemic restrictions continue to ease.