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It’s been a while since a theatre branding has really caught our eye here at Big Cat, so our ears perked up when we heard that Pentagram partner Harry Pearce and his team recently unveiled a new typographic identity for one of Britain’s best-known theatres, The Royal Victoria Theatre, dubbed “The Old Vic”. To say that they have broken down the traditional tone-of-voice is an understatement; the branding is loud, fun, and very colourful. Our Junior Designer Lizzie takes a closer look…

Unlike most design projects, the hierarchy of importance is (mostly) determined by style rather than by size – the logo flows seamlessly into the text and each of the “main points” is featured in a blocked out colour, with the rest in outlines. This seamless flow is quite confusing as the logo hasn’t got a differentiated tone of voice, and so doesn’t appear like a logo but more like a part of a sentence. Each statement isn’t necessarily set at the same size either, so it’s hard to see which piece of information has more dominance.

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The posters work best when it’s combined with imagery. The text is more spread out so a stronger hierarchy is established and the colours are more subdued. It’s strange how the overall identity doesn’t have a set colour palette – on the more text-heavy posters they reflect the show’s identity (e.g. they used red, blue and white for the Dr. Seuss show).

Apart from the posters, the new identity has only been carried across to some editorial ads (which mirror the poster style) and stationery designs. They’ve stripped back the outgoing colours and use of outlines for “the” in their stationery, giving it a more corporate appearance. The logo looks strangely stretched when stripped back, which wasn’t noticeable when displayed in flashy colours against noisy backgrounds.

Pentagram have yet to reveal whether or not there will be more marketing collateral with this new branding – the Big Cat studio will be keeping a closer eye to see how the identity could be adapted to other materials!

Posted by: Keshia Chauhan on