SOLT & UK Theatre

Positioning and branding

In a three-phase programme,
across two years, we:

Rebranded the Society of London Theatre; created a new personality and visual language for their public-facing activities; renamed and rebranded their sister organisation, UK Theatre (previously the Theatrical Management Association).

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The century-old organisation, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is the industry body for London theatre but has no public recognition. With plenty of disjointed, public-facing initiatives, they needed a strong umbrella brand. Through research, workshops and consultations, we concluded their website – OfficialLondonTheatre.com should be their main public-facing persona, with initiatives and offerings given their own, visually aligned identities.
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We convened a large consultation group of employees from across the organisations.

Together we identified authority & trust, and glamour & excitement as the key messages to convey. We proposed a number of possible approaches, settling on a ‘badge of authority’. That badge, housed in a pentagon shape, then became the basis of a wider visual language, and the pentagon is used as a motif in many different ways.
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The typeface, Relay, uses cues from the West End’s art-deco heritage. Hierarchy of size is used to push the London Theatre message whilst drawing attention to the ‘Official’ heading. Credibility is further reinforced with the shield’s sign-off, the date of their first public-facing communication.

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We’d been working with lots of ‘star’ designs when we realised that the centre of a five-pointed star formed this pentagon. By turning that shape into a ‘shield’ we were able to combine the key messages about trust and exciting nightlife. mike@cogdesign.com

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Our new brand is the perfect balance. It’s a badge of authority and trust but it’s filled with fun and imbued with the glamorous spirit of theatre. The Cog team were great, always prepared to challenge us and question our preconceptions, but respectful of our team and happy to listen and adapt. We were excited by the process and delighted with the results. Helen Jones, Marketing Manager

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Under the umbrella brand, we created logo treatments for each of the organisation’s main activities. Each logo stands alone whilst reflecting and reinforcing the visual language of the main brand.
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UK Theatre branding

As sister organisation to Society of London Theatre, The Theatrical Management Association had grown into the definitive country-wide membership body for theatres. The organisation was going through big changes when they approached us. As our clients redefined their mission and position, across several months, we worked alongside them to facilitate that journey. We began with a new name that confidently states their purpose – we represent all of UK Theatre.

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The logo is a neat visual metaphor. It can be viewed as both a spotlight (focussing its beam on you) and a compass, representing the UK-wide scope of the organisation.
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Pages from the extensive UK Theatre brand guidelines. These are used in-house by their design team and when liaising with external providers. They have to be both flexible and precise across many different areas of communication.

We couldn’t recommend Cog more highly. They seemed to instinctively understand the nuance and politics of working with a complex multi-facetted organisation like ours with such a long history and so many stakeholders. We have all been delighted with the results. Our new branding is proving popular with existing members while attracting new contacts and repositioning our profile to exactly where we had hoped at the start of the project. David Brownlee, Executive Director, UK Theatre
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Alongside the rebrand, UK Theatre introduced a range of personal membership options. We produced a suite of illustrations to use across print and online. mike@cogdesign.com

Probably my favourite part of this project was the redesign of their membership magazine. It’s their most tangible piece of communication because it drops through the letterbox of every member; it’s essential that the magazine embodies the UK Theatre personality. Ocky Murray
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SOLT & UK Theatre combined

When we were originally commissioned by the Society of London Theatre they were clear that they wanted to keep their industry-facing brand. But they were so pleased with the other work that we persuaded them to use it throughout the organisation. Mindful of this, we’d designed the UK Theatre branding to sit alongside SOLT. Distinct but visually paired, the sister organisations work together and represent all theatres and theatre professionals.

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