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Claire Parker judges new identity Dutch National Ballet & Opera

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Claire Parker, Creative Director at our Amsterdam studio, is part of the online ‘corporate design panel’ of Marketing Tribune magazine, so every month she will judge a corporate design, together with Tom Dorresteijn from Studio Dumbar and Stefan Pangratz from VBAT. This time the design panel was asked to judge the corporate identity of the Dutch National Ballet & Opera. Here’s the link to the online article and we’ve translated it here:

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The Dutch Opera, The Dutch National Ballet and The Amsterdam Music Theatre have merged to form the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The two companies will keep their own brand names, but from now on will operate together as one house. Their new visual identity was designed by Lesley Moore. In essence both opera and ballet are about “story-telling”, and this forms the basic thinking behind the logo. The Dutch National Opera & Ballet consists of numerous stories, both on- and back-stage. The layering of these stories is visible in the logo, leaving the name of the art forms in the foreground. The logo is used as a frame, leaving space for an ever-changing range of stories. The art forms only truly come alive when in motion, in moving image and music. Based on this idea, Lesley Moore came up with the concept for the campaigns using a “moving still image” which tells the story of specific performances. The campaigns make use of the possibilities offered by new media, and the new website operaballet.nl has been developed by TamTam to exploit this to the full.

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Images by Petrovsky & Ramone: Photography duo Petrovsky & Ramone made the new campaign image for the remaining productions of the current season and for the 2014/2015 season. They also make the video trailers for the productions of National Opera & Ballet .

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Photographer Robin de Puy makes all the portrait photos for National Opera & Ballet. Recent winner of the National Portrait Prize in 2013, Robin de Puy is the first photographer who makes portraits for all National Opera & Ballet.

Ambition Els van der Plas, general manager of National Opera & Ballet : “By joining forces, we can be more efficient and effective. By doing this we can confirm our leading position and develop further, allowing more people to enjoy opera and ballet. We want everyone to know the kind of world we deliver performance in, every day, in the field of opera and ballet, something that the Netherlands can justifiably be proud of. By working together with these parties, we get a look that fits with our ambitions.”

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Claire Parker, Creative Director Design Bridge: “It’s strong, instantly recognisable, feeling like a true cultural destination. The typography is bold and clear and lets the beautiful photography add the colour and emotion. I admire Lesley Moore and her design systems, typographically and as architecture great. But that’s not to say this is right for creating expressive identities. There is a definite austerity to the mark, serious and lacking accessibility. To me as in all the arts especially opera and ballet it’s about projecting expression. There’s fluidity whether it be through movement or sound; a sense of balance, of power and of grace. Which is lost in the precision of the identity. What I did see in the logo, was the audience and performance brought together through the layers, as if rows and a stage. So perhaps you can add value to the fact there’s things in there to decipher yourself.” Score: 8

Stefan Pangratz, Creative at VBAT: “The first thing that struck me when seeing the identity for the first time was its recognisability, despite the minimal use of graphical features and means. The “moving”stills on the site are especially nice. Surprising, crafted with style and expressing a serene and peaceful atmosphere, they truly embody the power of the whole identity. Is it an identity for “connoisseurs”? Maybe, but very well executed. Thinking of the single line as a subtle reference to the stage or the nice authority and national character of the chosen font. Once again a proof that a great identity is built on much more then a logo alone, but rather the well-balanced sum of many parts.” Score: 9

Tom Dorresteijn, CEO Studio Dumbar“It’s not easy, what needed to be brought together in this style: opera, ballet and a building. As if you needed to combine the volleyball club, the gymnastics team and the sport hall in one style. Although there are crossovers within the target-audiences, ballet and opera still represent different worlds. The agency has accomplished this very successfully. Everything has found its place in a beautiful style. You have to adjust a little to the half-buried typography, but the strong point is that the word marks are clearly present, without ‘wanting’ too much. It’s calm and clear, it provides a stage without asking for too much attention. That stage is subsequently utilized by beautiful photography and motion graphic – very strong online – which must appeal to the opera and ballet-lover. There is, however, a light worry about the durability of the concept. Is the organization going to maintain the level of care (and budget) into the photography/image? I honestly hope so.” Score: 8

Here’s some more info in Dutch about the new identity and here’s an interesting Q&A with the studio’s co-founder Alex Clay on Creative Review.

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