Author Information

Elizabeth NabiFollow

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Art and Design

Rank

Assistant Professor

Biographical Statement

Beth Nabi is an assistant professor of graphic design and digital media at the University of North Florida, where she specializes in publication design, graphic design history, and design for social good. Prior to teaching, she was a senior editorial designer for Rowland Publishing in Tallahassee. She is co-creator of the U2 Tattoo Project, an effort to document, curate and analyze U2 fan tattoos in the context of branding, visual identity and cultural anthropology. She also serves as Education Director for the Jacksonville chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design.

Title of Work

Ink, Icons, Identity: Exploring U2’s Brand Through Fan Tattoos

Type of Work

Other

Publication Information

"Ink, Icons, Identity: Exploring U2's Brand Through Fan Tattoos" was an exhibit of the U2 Tattoo Project that premiered at the University of North Florida Gallery of Art in August 2016 and was invited to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in September 2016. In addition to these two exhibits, the research has also been delivered via academic presentations at two conferences.

Description of Work

This unique multimedia exhibit examines the intersection of personal identity and brand identity through the tattooed fans of Irish rock band U2. It showcases bodily markings in the context of related U2 artifacts; presents the compelling personal stories behind the tattooed logos, symbols and lyrics; and explores the dynamic relationship between fan and band as U2’s visual identity passes into the hands and onto the bodies of fans. Curated by Beth Nabi, the exhibit displays the research of the U2 Tattoo Project, an ongoing international curation and study of U2-related tattoos currently based on online submissions (U2tattooproject.com) as well as personal interviews with nearly 150 fans from 17 different cities in 3 countries and photographs of more than 300 fan tattoos. In 40 years as a band, U2 has accumulated a rich history of transient visual identities from each era or album, but no consistently used logo, like the Rolling Stones’ legendary lips-and-tongue symbol. The U2 Tattoo Project was created to study what, in the absence of that official logo, U2 fans get tattooed, and why. As both tattoos and fandom gain significance in popular culture, this unique study of these areas contributes to new understandings of meaning-making and the transition of symbols from creator to audience, and back again. The U2 Tattoo Project considers graphic design in an unconsidered medium of tattooed skin, and this unprecedented study offers valuable insight into the intersection of brand identity and personal identity.

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Ink, Icons, Identity: Exploring U2’s Brand Through Fan Tattoos

This unique multimedia exhibit examines the intersection of personal identity and brand identity through the tattooed fans of Irish rock band U2. It showcases bodily markings in the context of related U2 artifacts; presents the compelling personal stories behind the tattooed logos, symbols and lyrics; and explores the dynamic relationship between fan and band as U2’s visual identity passes into the hands and onto the bodies of fans. Curated by Beth Nabi, the exhibit displays the research of the U2 Tattoo Project, an ongoing international curation and study of U2-related tattoos currently based on online submissions (U2tattooproject.com) as well as personal interviews with nearly 150 fans from 17 different cities in 3 countries and photographs of more than 300 fan tattoos. In 40 years as a band, U2 has accumulated a rich history of transient visual identities from each era or album, but no consistently used logo, like the Rolling Stones’ legendary lips-and-tongue symbol. The U2 Tattoo Project was created to study what, in the absence of that official logo, U2 fans get tattooed, and why. As both tattoos and fandom gain significance in popular culture, this unique study of these areas contributes to new understandings of meaning-making and the transition of symbols from creator to audience, and back again. The U2 Tattoo Project considers graphic design in an unconsidered medium of tattooed skin, and this unprecedented study offers valuable insight into the intersection of brand identity and personal identity.