Branding a world-class venue in rural Essex
Saffron Hall branding
We designed our studio; it's filled with light and music. There are multiple meeting rooms, a well stocked kitchen, and an indoor garden (with fishpond). Pop-in for tea and stay to use a spare desk for as long as you need.
We’re next to Greenwich train and DLR station. We have a door right on the concourse but it’s different to our postal address.
If you have to come by car, we have a couple of parking spaces in front of our studio. Call ahead to make sure they’re free, and use our postcode (SE10 9QF) to guide you in.
It's exciting to chat about potential new projects. We don't have a ‘sales’ team or a form to fill in. Call us or give us a little detail via email and we'll get straight back to email@example.com
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Saffron Hall branding
Saffron Hall is a remarkable, purpose built classical music venue, housed in a high-school in Essex (near Saffron Walden). Our task was to create a brand that placed this geographically remote venue within the world of sophisticated city venues..
The brainchild of a local philanthropist, this 740-seat performance space sits within the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School.
Shortly after opening, Director Angela Dixon (former Head of Music at Barbican) approached us to help her in her mission. Her brief was to make Saffron Hall a world-class classical music venue, attracting the orchestras and musicians that are usually found in Europe’s highest-profile concert halls.
We visited the venue, met and chatted with the team, and went to some incredible concerts. And then we set about sketching ideas.
From a designer’s perspective, the S of Saffron seemed the obvious starting point. It’s relatively easy to create a strong, graphic language. We filled our pin-boards with ideas that relied on an S-based logo.
But we quickly realised that they weren’t fulfilling our brief. Our client was never going to be able to compete with the publicity or spending power of big city venues and, as a new player on the circuit, every piece of communication would have to work extra hard to reinforce venue’s name. It was clear that we needed a visual identity that placed emphasis on that name.
We worked on a few options that used a juxtaposition of text and an icon. This was one our favourites as it ‘cleverly’ references a striped architectural feature within the venue’s main performance space.
But the more we played with it, the less adaptable the idea became. We wanted to ensure that we handed over a functional solution not a clever, designer’s solution. So we focused in on an identity that uses a logotype, a type-only marque.
And we investigated how that might be expanded beyond a visual identity into a campaign.
But our most important task was to create a visual identity that could be used, day to day to promote concerts and the concert hall.
Our solution was a deceptively simple typographic solution; a logotype that be used huge when needed and reduced down when the artist’s name takes precedence.
And we delivered a detailed design system that allows our clients to create consistent communication materials for any occasion and medium.
We included a full palette of colours, typefaces, position guides, house-styles for writing…
…and example applications of how the system could be adapted and applied across different materials, including the simplest banners…
…and the most complex ‘listings’ posters.
Key to the designs is the idea that some applications, such as national advertising, emphasise the venue name (building recognition and profile for the name, Saffron Hall), whilst others, such as local ads or when the artist’s name is a big draw, emphasise the name of the artist.
We’ve been delighted to see how brilliantly the Saffron Hall team have embraced the branding, and how effective they have been at attracting international playing stars and orchestras to their wonderful venue.