corporate identity

Looking for a Sign

Firm Principal and Founder, Jaime DeGroot, reflects on three years in business–the ups and the downs, the chaos and the accomplishments.

Jaime and our new office sign

Jaime and our new office sign

Our company was born out of necessity and therefore, in a rush. We quickly put together the best framework we could just to get up and running. Since then, we have slowed everything down and made a business of carefully considering everything that goes into art consulting. We try to plan for everything, obsess over the smallest details, overpack, and overthink every turn before we make it.

Although we work in a visual industry, a lot of our work is invisible. Behind every piece of art hanging on a crisp wall is a myriad of unseen considerations: construction schedules, transportation, insurance, hardware, and proper cleaning, to name just a few.

Because each project is very different, we start fresh every time and build on our arsenal of knowledge to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Inevitably, there are things you cannot plan for and unexpected mishaps–but finding the best solution for any situation we face during a project is our forte. It is this experience in problem solving that defines the work we do for clients as well as the small business hurdles we face daily and in unexpected ways.

I know there are many people out there who can relate to the sleepless nights, financial bottlenecks, and the heartburn that comes with running a small business. I try to remember that everyone is facing struggles on some level–big and small. When we have had a particularly stressful day, when the challenges are new or completely unexpected, I am left looking for a sign that I am doing the right thing. That sign was literal this past week: the signage for the new office we moved into this year arrived, just in time for our third anniversary.

Taking stock of these past three years, I can certainly say it was sometimes tough. But on a daily basis I am reminded of how much easier it is when you are working with a team of passionate and capable individuals. Add to that a roster of clients that are increasingly passionate and pleasant by the day, a community of talented artists, and a network of incredibly knowledgeable vendors, and you have yourself a wonderful job. When people learn about our occupation, they usually say how fun it sounds, and mostly, it is.

As I look down on this small sign that took a village to hang (Thanks, Aron) showcasing a logo that was essentially procured overnight (Thanks, Joel), I am astonished at what my community has accomplished during these three years. Many thanks to our new neighbors for welcoming us into the 1709 W. Chicago fold and especially to my team members, Brontë, Julia, and Keiko who will forever hold an office in my heart. It is only by your grace and skill that we have been able to hang the DeGroot Fine Art sign–and a lot of beautiful art.

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Organizing Artwork for Corporate Events

Easel for Display at Conference

We help our clients coordinate art-related logistics for a range of corporate events including conferences, meetings, and lectures. In a recent project, we asked to prepare a set of historical displays for a board meetings being held in several elite Chicago hotels.

Our role in this project focused on managing the art related aspects of their event and included a variety of logistical details to consider. We organized the shipment of framed historical images and text to showcase during the meeting. The panels were shipped to our warehouse, where we unpacked, inspected, and documented each item, and organized them based on their content. This location provides a safe, insured area to hold materials ahead of time. In advance of the meetings, our team of art handlers managed the careful wrapping and transportation of the panels to the event sites.

Working with Local Vendors

We collaborated with a local event rental company to source contemporary, high-quality easels to showcase the historical panels. Using easels provided an efficient option for temporary display that would be flexible based on the layout of the event whilst showcasing the integrity of each piece. The event setting was elegant and included metallic glass features, which guided our selection of easels that complimented the hotel’s décor.

In advance of setting up the displays, we worked with local handlers to schedule pick-ups and deliveries to the event location. We coordinated with event staff to ensure that proper insurance was in place and that the delivery vehicles were compliant with the requirements of the event space.

Once on site, we arranged the layout of the easels based on the flow of traffic; we wanted the panels to be in convenient locations for ease of reading by guests. An internal curator was there as well, and together we selected the panels with content that would be most relevant to the attendees. One selection showcased international branches and emphasized the company’s global influence, while another depicted industry innovations spearheaded by the company throughout its history.

Langham Hotel Chicago

The Value of Visual Details

The inclusion of these panels highlighted various company achievements and provided historical context to the discussions being held during the board meeting. Attendees could learn about the company’s many important accomplishments and innovations in their industry while discussing their future direction and goals.

The information and historical photography on the panels highlighted our client's corporate lineage and were a clear source of pride for those attending the meeting. The metallic detailing on the easels connected to the opulent design of the hotel and made the display cohesive and sharp.  By presenting the panels in a mindful, artful manner, the display provided an insightful backdrop for a productive board meeting.

Connecting to Corporate Identity

An important part of corporate art advising and art consulting is connecting our clients’ visual culture with their corporate identity. Fine art collections are a reflection of the collector’s values and function similarly to the way a company’s branding communicates the personality and goals of that entity. Understanding the visual language of our clients is at the core of our job, and we work with them to implement cohesive visual design that complements their vision. Displays for corporate events are one such opportunity to showcase a company’s history and what they stand for.

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