Over the past 40 years, the 325-seat Almeida Theatre in London’s Islington district has become one of the city’s most important centres for drama. Innumerable stars of film and stage have graced its stage, and its legacy includes the opening of many plays that have gone on to fame and acclaim on Broadway and in the West End. As a great lover of the arts, I was tremendously honoured when the theatre’s new artistic directors Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid asked me to design a fresh logo for the prestigious venue.
When Jonathan and Ian joined the Almeida, they decided to steer the theatre away from the eclectic and fringe programming it had staged in the previous decade, instead turning it into a hub for classical repertoire. The visual identity needed to reflect this shift in direction while appealing to both the cosmopolitan residents of Islington and the greater theatre-going audience of London. It had to work alongside graphics for a wide variety productions, plus be effective on signage, outdoor advertising and an array of promotional materials.
Striving to be both urbane and unpretentious, my hand-lettered logo drew upon the shape of the traditional theatre mask. The identity was designed to be easily reproduced and work comfortably alongside logos and graphics for any type of production the theatre might host. And black and white backgrounds helped to enhance the logo’s visibility and create a sense of drama.
I’m very proud that the identity went on to win me my first Design Week Award. And even more proud that the client found the design so successful that they continued our partnership, hiring me to create posters for some of the plays that have guaranteed the Almeida’s place in theatre history.
Agency / HGV