19 August 2021When the Irvington Theater, based in the Irvington, a town just north of Manhattan, launched a rebrand about a year ago now, it caused quite a stir in the design community and it went on to win a number of design awards.Over here at MOTHandRUST, we thought it was so great and so different. It was remarkable, a theatre identity that did not rely on imagery... We've worked with a number of theatres over the years and understand that getting imagery that is really good, representative, on time, affordable, and so on can sometimes be a bit tricky. So this could be useful as well.
1) The identity works by choosing a colour based on whether the event is theatre, music, film, comedy or dance. This colour coding would help distinguish film (greys) from theatre (blues) and so on.
2) A typeface is then chosen from a collection that consists of 52 different typefaces, to be used the title of the event.3) A pared-down sans serif in only one weight is used for everything else. Here you can see all three elements together.When the events are seen together, as they are above, the many typefaces are indeed an effective way of conveying diversity, variety, and range in the programming. Looks great.
4) In addition to the typefaces and colours, a third element of the design system is layering. You can see this in the image above point 3 above—lots of coloured layers on each of the postcards. This is said to be inspired from wheat paste broadsheets of the Victorian age, as seen above in a watercolour by John Orlando Parry, ”A London Street Scene” 1835. Looks REALLY great.
But can an identity work through the sheer use of colour, typography and layering? Without relying on imagery? Especially a theatre?
Well, fast forward to a year later, and sure enough, we do see imagery appearing everywhere in the brand, from the posters to the Twitter page (see above).
The only other element that does not seem to be working is the layering. We are seeing very little of this in the branding today. Not sure why this is.DoIt is sometimes thought that a new brand is etched in stone, but it is not. Evaluate the brand after it has been in use for some time. You can always make changes if things are not working (within reason!) In the example above, it may be that images need to be included. Note that changes to the branding should be done with guidance from the design agency, if possible.Don'tA simple brand system, with a constrained amount of elements like the one above, is almost always best for a small company with limited resources. But just because it is simple does not mean it needs to be boring.
Note that we've spelled 'theater' the American way, and also 'theatre,' the way the rest of the world spells it. A nice compromise, as everyone is happy!Posted in: branding
28 July 2021
Developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with input from Eduard Hoffmann, this typeface, very quickly, became one of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century.Originally named Neue Haas Grotesk, it was changed to Helvetica which is "Swiss" in Latin. This capitalised on Switzerland's reputation as a centre of ultra-modern graphic design and helped to sell the typeface abroad.Helvetica provided something that designers wanted: a neutral typeface apparently devoid of personality, that had great clarity, and could be used on a wide variety of signage. Indeed it's featured on signage from the New York subway to previous South Korean and Japanese road signs.Helvetica has also been used for countless logos (please see the image above).Versions exist for Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Khmer, and Vietnamese alphabets. Chinese faces have been developed to complement Helvetica.Derivative designs based on Helvetica were rapidly developed, taking advantage of the lack of copyright protection in the phototypesetting font market of the 1960s onward. One could argue that such a trend has remained ongoing.As you may know from our previous newsletter, Arial was created for IBM to substitute for Helvetica—without IBM having to pay Linotype for a Helvetica license on its printers.IBM used Helvetica Neue as its corporate typeface until 2017. Like many big corporations, IBM now has its own bespoke typeface, saving over $1m annually on licensing fees.If you have a Mac, it probably came with Helvetica installed and licensed. This shot Helvetica into the hands of everyone, not only designers, helping to maintain its popularity and relevance over the decades.Here at MOTHandRUST, we don't tend to use Helvetica, as it is so overused—the American designer and design historian Paul Shaw puts it best: "Helvetica is an invasive and drug-resistant species that may never be eradicated. Even designers who don't often use it in their own work take pride in the fact that it is such a persistent cultural icon."Posted in: typography
9 June 2021We are currently working on a fascinating Instagram project, perhaps you or someone you know could add their voice?From where we are, graphic design from around the world is not very accessible—and we want to change that. We find our sources of inspiration tend to be dominated by the US and Europe, focus on particular trends and can be rather samey-samey. In an age of globalisation, we want to offer a broader perspective, interest, and appreciation of different cultures and voices from around the world.We are looking for graphic designers, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and join!
10 May 2021
Since 1882, the Actors' Benevolent Fund (ABF) has supported actors and stage managers experiencing hardship due to injury, illness, or old age. It has a very proud history and has been under Royal Patronage (currently Prince Charles) for over 89 years.
The ABF came to us for help raising its profile. As we worked with the them, it became clear that telling its story, which spans over 135 years, was one of the best ways to do this. Effective online reading was achieved with concise copy. Sections break up the text and large quotes pull the reader in. A progress bar at the top indicates where the reader is on the page.
We also developed a site that is much more straightforward for both the ABF and their audience to use. The application processes are accessible to all applicants whether by mail, phone or online. To encourage reaching out for help, a chat box is included. A successful online shop helps increase revenue.
The site is flexible and has easily evolved over time. Most recently, a 2020 Emergency Grant online application was added, as well as a Christmas video featuring well-known British actors—even Tom Hardy! (Our favourite).
actorsbenevolentfund.co.ukPosted in: digital