Thursday, September 03, 2009

Artists in Ad land: Ralph Hotere

In 1996 the Bank of New South Wales merged with Trustbank to create New Zealand’s largest bank Westpac. Change your name and you got to change your stationery. To give the new bank some cultural clout, the design shop that landed the rebranding commissioned Ralph Hotere to create a work that incorporated 'Westpac red' to serve as the basis for the visual identity for the new brand. Hotere painted RED X2 and details from it were used to brand, via colour and texture, Westpac's branches, ATMs, credit cards and adverts.

The Hotere look lasted for around four or five years and was then phased out. Through the commissioning process the painting belonged to the bank and was lent for a time to Wellington airport where it hung above the escalators to the departures level. Since April 2003 it has been on loan to the Auckland Art Gallery.
Image: Details of Ralph Hotere’s RED X 2 in use on a Westpac ATM