To gain clarity, we entered a deep insight and audit phase, conducting research and interviews internally, and externally with the public. It became clear that their mission was to make theatre more democratic and less elitist in its appeal.
A new name for the charity was also on the billing. ‘Live Theatre Winchester Trust' was just such a muddling mouthful, even for trained actors. So, we ran a lively, multi-stakeholder workshop, (vital when changing a name) focussing on how to make theatre - whether on the street or the stage - feel inviting to everyone. The name we ultimately chose, Play To The Crowd, expresses this populist shift, while keeping it feeling fun.
We also reorganised the wider architecture, defining brand values that are shared across the family, and individual personalities for each of the brands. Disparate and individual though they were, we discovered that they all shared a core belief - uniting and delighting through performance - but express themselves differently. Like a real family.
Visually, we united this family of brands with a delightful little device - a graphic semi-circle that spreads like a smile across each of the identities. This not only represents the happiness of the watching crowd, but the arcs that mark the boundaries of the stage - the space where performer meets audience.
With the brand position and family architecture clarified, it was fairly straightforward to create Tone of Voice guidelines for each of the brands. They all spoke about the same things that mattered to them all - their brand values - but in subtly different voices - their brand personalities. This gave the Hat Fair festival the freedom to be the cheeky, expressive and intriguing sibling, traits that came to life across its visual and verbal identity.
Our brand guidelines were then ably implemented by other agencies to design websites, signage and even influence the new interiors for the theatre. Everybody understood what this brand was about, which made it so much easier - and more delightful - to implement it in a unified way.
Play to the Crowd then collaborated with us to craft a completely new brand for their outreach and youth theatre venture. Both name and design needed to represent the open-armed and uplifting purpose of this brand: Playmakers. The brand family smile appears in the Y, a little visual joke giving the tentative a reason why to join in.