Pentagram’s Harry Pearce rebrands The (historic) Old Vic
The Royal Victoria Theatre, or The Old Vic as it is commonly called, is one of the most recognized and respected theatres in London. Recently, Pentagram partner Harry Pearce spearheaded a rebrand for the famous theatre institution. During the design process, Pearce spent time with The Old Vic’s artistic director, Matthew Warchus, learning about his vision for the theatre, as well as looking through the extensive physical archive of graphic material relating to the theatre. Warchus briefed Pentagram to create a visual identity that was raw, honest and true to the theatre’s ambition to encourage tolerance, dissolve prejudice and promote empathy through storytelling.
Pentagram found the inspiration for this lofty rebrand through observations from the theatre’s home, borrowing the typographic style found on many of London’s historic buildings. Using the theatre’s pub name instead of its more formal title, Pentagram designed a bold typographic treatment that not only stamps the theatre’s name with an old-world bluntness, but also speaks to a modern audience. “The identity relies solely on Akzidenze Grotesk Bold Extended, a heavy font that dates back to the late nineteenth century, a nod that adds both a visual and metaphorical weightiness to the brand. The type is applied to posters and other print materials through a detailed gridded system that allows for a mixture of both outlined and solid versions of the font, as well as a wide ranging colour palette”.
The result is a brand that manages to straddle both the heritage of this London institution while pushing forward into the contemporary world of theatre.