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Official London Theatre

"Help us to create a strong consumer facing brand that brings together and communicates our wide range of activities to an audience who may not be that familiar with us".

That was our brief from the century-old organisation, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT). The Society is a powerful force within the theatre industry but is virtually unknown to the public, despite being behind many popular West End initiatives, the national Theatre Tokens scheme and the internationally recognised Olivier Awards.

We had to work fast. The Society had a strict deadline, with a major overhaul of their public facing website officiallondontheatre.co.uk due three months later.

We convened a large consultation group of employees from across the organisations. Through research, workshops and discussions we concluded that their website should act as the hub for public-facing activity. The main public-facing brand would be Official London Theatre, with initiatives and offerings given their own, visually aligned identities. Together we identified authority and trust, and the glamour and excitement of theatre, as 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.

Pentagon shaped logo for Official London theatre

SOLT : OLT Branding - OLT Logo

Each element of the shield conveys the organisation's values of prestige and credbility.

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.

The weight of each element is carefully balanced to ensure maximum impact and legibility at
any size.

Pentagon shaped log with orange to yellow gradient applied.

SOLT : OLT branding - logo with graduations

A portrait image of Mike Davies, in black and white

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 trustworthiness and exciting nightlife.

Mike Davies
Four, Official London Theatre logos, filled with varying colour graduations, positioned in a square.
Four, Official London Theatre logos, filled with different coloured sparkles, positioned in a square.

SOLT : OLT branding - logos with sparkle

We provided a competely flexible way of using the shield. It can be filled with any flat colour, any graduation between colours, or a background image (such as these glamorous sparkles). We provided a palette of each option, and instructions on how to expand that palette.

Three leaflets cover, with theatrical images, each with a sprinkling of pentagon sparkles
Face on photo of a banner, mounted on a flag pole, in front of an old building
A poster in a tube station, with the headline, Christmas Highlights
A pop up banner in an arts venue foyer

3 slideshow images (click image to view)

SOLT : OLT brandingt - T-shirt

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
Purple t-shirt with white Official London Theatre logo on front
Six, double-page spreads from the Official London Theatre brand guidelines

SOLT : OLT branding - guidelines

Sample pages from the brand guidelines.

Photo of an open champagne bottle, in a metal bucket with blurred lights in the background.
Silhouette of a man, facing right with bright sun behind him, causing flares of light in the foreground.
A line of Olivier Awards (busts of Olivier from Henry V) with translucent pink pentagon shapes overlaid.
Translucent pink pentagon shapes overlaid on each other on a dark background.

4 slideshow images (click image to view)

SOLT : OLT branding - lights_slideshow_1

We've provided all sorts of different ways of using the pentagon shape in imagery. It can look like twinkling lights, lens flare shapes, overlays of coloured effects, or just overlaid as background textures.

Use of these effects can give subtle visual cohesion to very different imagery, all under the Official London Theatre brand.

SOLT : OLT branding - TKTS branding

A portrait of Michael Smith, in black and white

The branding process was so well received that we were asked to produce logos for each of their main offerings and initiatives. Adopting the same visual styling we provided four distinct identities that would be readily associated with the main brand.

Michael Smith
TKTS logo - red
Theatre Tokens logo
Get Into London Theatre logo - blue pentagon
Kids Week logo - multi-coloured pentagon

SOLT : OLT branding - Kids Week logo

We adopted specific colour palettes that reflect the needs of each of the four offerings or initiatives, whether that's a tie-in to a US counterpart (such as New York's TKTS) or the midnight blue of the cut-price, winter tickets scheme, Get Into London Theatre.

For Kids Week we could afford to be a little more free with use of colour and 'drawn' lettering.

Each logo stands alone whilst reflecting and reinforcing the visual language of the main brand.

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