Theatre is an artform that depends not solely on its visible and verbal efficiency components, however the textual content from which all the remainder of the extra showy elements are born. An apparent level, however one that always makes me surprise: why accomplish that many theatre firms have such horrible names? Possibly it’s a type of in-joke, perhaps I’m simply lacking one thing as a non-thesp. However (in private expertise at the least) it’s uncanny how typically a theatre firm identify will deliver Ollie Plimsolls’ hopeless, hapless, furiously earnest Legz Akimbo to thoughts.
Which all brings me on to Monkey Baa Theatre Co., an Australian theatre firm that goals to empower younger folks to form their lives by means of inspiring, imaginative and artistic experiences. Based mostly in Sydney’s ARA Darling Quarter Theatre since 2012, the corporate was fashioned in 1997 and creates, presents and excursions performances throughout Australia and internationally. Upcoming exhibits embody Possum Magic, Edward the Emu, and Josephine Needs to Dance.
Monkey Baa lately rebranded because of design studio Common Favorite, which can also be primarily based in Sydney. Common Favorite was tasked with creating a brand new visible and verbal identification ‘that might stay as much as the invigorating and imaginative nature’ of Monkey Baa’s providing.
Common Favorite labored with the theatre group to forge a brand new model that goals to be ‘wealthy in emotion and character’; categorical Monkey Baa’s model positioning, which relies across the thought of the ability of creativeness; and communicate to a spread of audiences from five-to-sixteen-year-old youngsters, in addition to the adults to pay, information, and organise the theatre’s actions.
As Common Favorite noticed it, the earlier model design ‘wasn’t doing justice to the enjoyable and creativity on the core of’ Monkey Baa. In quite simple phrases, the phrase mark has shifted from sans serif to serif, reflecting the perpetual ebb and circulate of how we understand sure fonts – what they’re related to and the way in vogue they’re.
The place the former branding’s all-lower-case, Swiss-style neutrality would have as soon as (in very latest years, in actual fact), felt coolly, timelessly, effortlessly hip; at the moment it does look a bit dated. Likewise, the brand new mark’s Clarendon-style serifs (nonetheless all lower-case) would have as soon as felt like a blandly company selection (once more, in very latest years), its resonance at the moment is extra contemporary, stylish, even barely quirky.
The typeface that Common Favorite opted to make use of isn’t simply any previous system font serif, nonetheless. The brand makes use of up to date slab-serif Sebenta by Lisbon-based foundry Feliciano Kind; chosen for its ‘grounded but vigorous’ model, ‘like an excited baby attempting to remain put in a theatre seat’. For headlines and physique copy Sebenta is paired with Gellix by Prague-based foundry Displaay, a contemporary, daring, geometric sans serif chosen for its mixture of legibility and character.
The logomark’s font was additionally chosen for its nods to basic Australian youngsters’s books, an affect that has underpinned your complete rebrand by means of Common Favorite’s immersion of their tales and characters. Noting the hyperlink between these books’ potential to spark youngsters’ imaginations and feed their minds, the studio formulated the double-meaning-laden inventive thought at each stage to behave because the identification’s basis.
Common Favorite additionally namechecks Saul Bass and Paul Rand as inspiration – maybe an unlikely affect for the reason that former is arguably most well-known for his designs for the very-not-kid-friendly movies of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, and the latter for iconic however equally slightly grown-up-skewed company emblem designs for the likes of IBM.
Nonetheless, it really works – and you may see the way in which this uncommon trio has knowledgeable Monkey Baa’s branding by means of all the pieces from its daring shapes to its deal with characters to its hand-drawn textures, papercuts and screenprints.
The place the wordmark doesn’t really feel significantly distinctive, one of many strongest elements of the brand new identification is the suite of cute, easy little characters. It’s good to see a cultural identification use character design in the identical means one thing like a cereal model would: the likes of Tony the Tiger grew to become icons as a result of they work, they usually can work simply as effectively exterior of FMCG, too – a truth typically ignored by designers.
The characters are used throughout the theatre firm’s designs as a shorthand to precise the myriad of various feelings sparked in its audiences. As Common Favorite factors out, many of those theatregoers are ‘so younger they will’t but put phrases to their emotions,’ which is the place the model characters actually shine, whereas additionally performing as ownable belongings that may evolve and modulate over time.
Copywriter Cat Wall was introduced in to assist create the brand new verbal identification and tone of voice that might run the gamut from nursery to nursing residence when it got here to communication. You may inform its effectiveness by the way in which it really works so seamlessly as to be barely noticeable: it’s not childish nor too lofty, by no means patronising, by no means veering into silliness for silliness’ sake: it’s merely heat, charming, and does what it’s meant to do – talk.
The place the identification greatest involves life is within the theatre’s poster designs, which superbly mix design rigour and a way of surprise that chimes completely with Monkey Baa’s audiences. It may possibly’t be simple to create a model that works for such a spread of individuals, and whereas I’m hardly greatly surprised by the brand new wordmark; these designs completely display that branding is about so, a lot greater than a emblem.