The New Theatre is one of the oldest, independent theatres in Sydney, Australia, that has undergone a rebrand through British designer Mike Rigby. They are a non-professional company run and organised primarily by volunteers; their “about us” page states what could be an amazing strapline: “Always real. Always raw. Always New.”
My eye was drawn initially to the logomark above – it is beautiful, minimal and sharp – but it was only when I saw how it was implemented did it make me say “wow!”
The seriffed tips of the logomark act as the letter “T”, something that wasn’t obvious when looking at the mark in isolation. Using this as a tool to introduce the brand name “The New Theatre” is a wonderfully clever approach, which is playful, but professional. The designer states in his description:
The logo combines the three initial letters of The New Theatre into one simple mark. It is also completely rotatable, allowing interesting juxtapositions of messaging.
As you can see from the above image, the integration of the logotype is surprisingly subtle. It’s only when you look at the serif in the bottom left do you realise it’s a large “N” as supposed to an angled backslash. It all makes sense. The layout seems quirky with the placement and scale, but that’s why it’s so perfect. The clever implementation of the T into the mark doesn’t stop with the logotype, further connotations are pushed (sometimes bordering on the forced) but you can forgive them on every occasion. The open and closed sign is a great example of the rotational elements being used in a creative way.
In all these examples, the areas where traditional information is given has been creatively interpreted into the New Theatre logomark. It’s always tasteful, constantly acting as a reminder of their personality.
There wasn’t a reference to the chosen typeface, but I believe it to be Gibson Bold by Canada Type. The 8-weight family has an excellent range, usable for many projects with enough adaptability to work in almost any situation. Gibson in particular is a great choice as it maintains to the independent, creative disposition – “All the revenues from its sale will be donated by Canada Type to the GDC, where they will be allocated to a variety of programs aiming to improve the creative arts and elevate design education in Canada.”
It works really well as a strong communicator in further branding, acting as a headline typeface with a humanist base. Posters and advertising flyers, the staple of a theatre’s outreach all carry the same care and creativity you would expect. Each production carries a representative symbol, The Lord of The Flies bearing Piggy’s glasses for example.
Leaving my favourite iterations of their creative adaptability until last are the tickets and the wine bottle. The tickets, bearing the phrase, “This is your Ticket / This is your Theatre” is a great way of reminding people they are central. It’s run by people, fuelled by their love of theatre and arts, for the people. The split when torn is naturally across the angled slash of the logomark – enough of the elements remain on either side to recognise the brand, despite technically being only half a logo.
The wine bottle, although not something you would automatically associate with theatre, becomes a talking point in it’s own right. The upside down glass and reversed “when” suggests a jovial evening, enjoying a bottle with friends until every drop is done. The colour choice, focusing upon the minimal and brand’s primary red works exceptionally well, especially with it being a Merlot. Although more of a marketing tool, it’s done very tastefully and creatively – a common theme throughout all media.
It’s the kind of logo you wish you had designed, intelligent without being over-the-top, it’s personality really comes across as creative, the designer should be congratulated.