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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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Basement Theatre by Studio Alexander, New Zealand

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Branding for Basement Theatre by graphic design agency Studio Alexander

Basement Theatre is an independent, underground, community theatre located on Auckland’s Lower Greys Avenue. It was established in 2008 as a place to showcase new voices, fresh perspectives and emerging young talent, and to provide these with the space to develop their performances. The theatre has played host to dancers, visual artists, poets, musicians, comedians and everything in between.

Taking their cues from the unique basement location, and a brief that called for a bold, playful and edgy identity, Studio Alexander built a system around a simple but smart logotype with a step component, the impact of fluorescent inks, tinted photography, rotalics and plenty of contrast.

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The National Insti­tute of Dra­matic Art by Maud, Australia

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Black block foiled corporate handbook designed by Maud for The National Insti­tute of Dra­matic Art

The National Institute of Dramatic Art is a national education and training organisation for the performing arts in Australia, and is respons­ible for developing the talents of some of the country’s biggest stars. With the continued demo­crat­isa­tion of per­form­ance through digital platforms such as Youtube, and concerns that this had the potential to undermine NIDA’s con­ser­vatoire approach, NIDA pursues a tech­nical mas­tery as a way to preserve a high stand­ard of education.

NIDA looked to design studio Maud to help redesign its visual identity system in a way that help a world-renowned organisation maintain its international presence, prominence and authority within an increasingly accessible field, and broaden its appeal beyond the dramatic arts to include per­form­ance skills across a wide range of industries. The project included logotype, signage, prospectus, business cards, brand guidelines and brochure.

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