Experts give their verdict on the Royal Ballet of Flanders’ rebrand
MARINA WILLER Partner, Pentagram www.pentagram.com
The new brand identity for Opera Ballet Vlaanderen centres on the institution’s Flemish name. By focusing on the abbreviation OBV, the goal was to create a clear, concise symbol; easily recognised across the world.
There was also a desire to create an identity that reflected the vitality that came with the merger of the opera and ballet companies. While built around typography, the new visual system is designed to express movement and transformation, and embrace the transitory nature of performance art. It’s both a response and a tribute to the words of ballet director Larbi Cherkaoui: “Dance is essentially transience. One movement disappears in the other. It is a temporary sketch of reality. Transience is a pacesetter for new hope.”
The key concept of the new identity is flexibility. The three letters are designed to appear in a confident way, opening space for content as a flexible system. OBV is always accompanied by the full name of the company: Opera Ballet Vlaanderen.
TOM ROYLANCE Senior graphic designer www.tomroylance.com
The logo is bold, fresh and conveys power. The power in dance and of the voice is achieved by, what looks like to me, ripples caused by an impact. The “o” and “b” lend themselves well to the disruptive effect. The “v”… not so much. While not bad, it’s not as strong and could easily live in a metal band or maybe an electrician’s logo. The typography is necessarily simple, but perhaps too generic.
The imagery is seductive and provocative, not necessarily what you might expect from a traditional art institution, but that’s why we’re here isn’t it? I especially like the photos of the practising dancers as they convey the passion and hard work that goes into a performance. Dainty little flowers they are not.
The dramatic imagery and aggressive logo demands your attention. In application, the work is open and balanced despite the almost chaotic layout. It’s clear that OBV was presented with the opportunity to break the shackles of stereotype, and grabbed the opportunity by the horned helmet.
GRAEME MCGOWAN Creative partner, Jamhot www.thisisjamhot.com
I like this new identity, a lot. The ‘never the same’ positioning fits nicely with the experience of watching live performances like opera and dance. The type’s jarring nature reminds me of some contemporary dance work I’ve seen, which have been challenging to watch but ultimately satisfying, and you get that feeling here.
The application to specific performance promo pieces conveys a nice sense of movement and individuality without overpowering the individual campaign photography. There’s the required flexibility to fit around different art direction styles, layouts and formats while also building a strong and consistent look; something that’s important when the venue will be working with both commissioned images and those supplied by outside production companies.
I can see this working well over time.
It will enable the organisation to develop a recognisable arts brand, with the movement lending itself well to animated formats and digital idents. Nice work.
new identity was designed to capture the movement and transformation associated with performance art.