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Talawa by Spy, United Kingdom

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Branding, stationery and business cards for UK all black theatre company Talawa by Spy

Talawa, Jamaican patois for “small but feisty”, is an all black theatre company that looked to address the lack of opportunities for minorities and their marginalisation at the time of its founding in 1986. Since then it has established itself as one of the most successful theatres of its type in the United Kingdom.

“Our work is informed by the wealth and diversity of the Black British experience, and through that we create outstanding work by cultivating the best in emerging and established Black artists. We invest in talent, develop audiences and inspire dialogue with and within communities across the UK and internationally. By doing so we enrich the cultural life of all.” – Talawa

Talawa has a diverse portfolio of productions, from Shakespeare to African classics, Oscar Wilde to new Black British, and from Nobel-prize winning playwrights to musicals. Some of these have gone on to win awards, tour internationally, and have provided many of its staff and performers with the skills necessary to go on to develop successful careers in radio, film and television.

London based Graphic design studio Spy worked with the theatre to develop a new brand identity and visual language that would help convey the theatre’s powerful spirit. This went on to include an animated logo, stationery, business cards, posters and website.

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Bregenzer Festspiele by Moodley, Austria

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Branding for Bregenz Festival by graphic design studio Moodley

Bregenzer Festspiele is a performing arts festival and opera venue with a 7,000 seat open-air amphitheatre. The festival is held each year in July and August and features a unique set built on top of a floating stage on Lake Constance in the Austrian city of Bregenz. Notable set designs include a giant book and skeleton for Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, the twisted metal of West Side Story, and the giant eye of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, which was also used as a location for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

To capture the unique qualities of Bregenzer Festspiele, the diversity of its performances, and position opera as more accessible, the festival worked with Graz and Vienna based graphic design studio Moodley to develop a new brand identity. This went on to include logo, logotype and collage design, and extended across programmes, playbills, sales packages and outdoor campaigns.

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Theatre Royal Plymouth designed by Spy

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Business cards for Theatre Royal Plymouth designed by Spy

Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP) is the largest and best attended regional producing theatre in the UK and leading promoter of theatre in the South West. It runs a diverse programme of performances, activities and events, and has a 1300 seat auditorium capable of delivering West End musicals, opera and ballet, as well as a smaller 175 seat theatre for experimental productions. The building, located on Plymouth’s Royal Parade, also houses a café, restaurant and community performance space.

In response to increased competition TRP looked to diversify its audience, retain current visitors and to improve the uptake of its outreach programmes through a new visual identity system as part of a wider regeneration project. Developed by London based Spy, the visual identity system was created to reflect the dynamic nature and joy of experiencing live performance and to connect with a broader audience. This was achieved through a vibrant colour palette of shifting planes, patterns and light, and a holistic approach that, alongside logo and print, included animation, signage and wayfinding.

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