Case Study

 

San Jose Repertory Theatre

Creating a visual brand to reflect an artistic vision.

While serving as a trustee and Marketing Task Force Chair for the San Jose Rep, I lead the effort to rebrand its visual identity—all pro-bono.

The rebranding process included patron surveys, demographic assessment, alignment to theatre’s new artist direction and objectives, messaging, redesigned logo, color palette, typography, primary and secondary brand assets, authored 20-page brand style guide, developed a review process of play graphics and season brochure design/production, and conducted design agency search for play graphics and season brochure.

Examples of the customized "e" logos.

Examples of the customized "e" logos.

Retiring the “e” logo... Why?

Ever changing  The old logo allowed for the “e” to be a changing, whimsical graphic that was customized to reflect the play that was running at the time or a specific event. Although this was a fun element, having a logo that changed was counterproductive to strengthening the brand. A brand is strengthened by repetitive, consistent use. The “multiple personality” of the “e” diluted the brand.

Whimsical  The whimsy of the logo sent the wrong message and did not align with the Artistic Director’s vision. San Jose Rep is not a whimsical institution; it’s a professional theatre—a message key to the brand.

Why the “e”?  Giving the “e” special treatment did not add value because the letter “e” in “Rep” doesn’t have particular significance.

Costly and time consuming  Creating new “e” treatments six or more times a year incurred measurable costs and consumed immeasurable time to manage and upkeep the logo library.

 
 

The new logo.

The new San Jose Rep logo established the theatre’s voice as an industry authority and thought-leader. San Jose Rep produces art that speaks for itself; it does not need to shout; it’s not flashy or trendy. The word mark is simple, approachable, and confident and it provides a consistent voice that a maturing institution can use for years to come.

The color blue  The blue is tied to the exterior color of the San Jose Rep building. The unique and memorable architecture of the “blue box” is an asset for San Jose Rep and using the blue color reinforces the sense of place.

San Jose  Nestling the words “San Jose” into “Rep” intentionally shows how important its location and community is to the institution, and again, reinforces the sense of place on a larger scale.

The goals of the logo redesign.

  • Updates the brand to more accurately reflect the current values, ambitions and characteristics of San Jose Rep.
  • Evolves the mark and the brand to securely position San Jose Rep as a confident and capable provider of theatre that is “Robustly Entertaining. Intellectually Challenging.”
  • Presents San Jose Rep as a premium brand and leader in the industry.
  • Mitigates the negative branding issues of the old “e” logo.
San Jose Rep's redesigned logo and 20-page branding guideline. The table of contents include: brand promise; retiring the "e" logo; the new logo; correct use of the institutional logo; logo clear space, placement, and sizing; incorrect logo uses; color palette; the Blue Box; brand design elements; using the primary art; and typography (primary and alternate).

San Jose Rep's redesigned logo and 20-page branding guideline. The table of contents include: brand promise; retiring the "e" logo; the new logo; correct use of the institutional logo; logo clear space, placement, and sizing; incorrect logo uses; color palette; the Blue Box; brand design elements; using the primary art; and typography (primary and alternate).

Alternate logo box and examples of logo and brand asset usage on a post card and season brochure.

Alternate logo box and examples of logo and brand asset usage on a post card and season brochure.

Architecture-inspired design elements.

San Jose Rep is fortunate to have its home in the center of downtown San Jose and to have played a part in creating its remarkable building. As a performing arts organization, it values the aesthetics of the building’s architecture.

Seeing this as an opportunity to reinforce the theatre’s location and leverage the building’s memorable qualities, San Jose Rep branding is closely tied to the architectural elements of its home.

Color  The bold blue color of the building stands out in the urban environment.

Material  Clad in corrugated metal, the building has a unique visual texture.

Shapes and angles  The boxy shape has earned the building’s nickname “the blue box.”

Neon  The bright multi-colored neon lights in graphic shapes adorn the building and act as guiding beacons.

The "Blue Box" and the building-inspired design elements picking up on the blue corrugated metal cladding and neon geometric shapes.

The "Blue Box" and the building-inspired design elements picking up on the blue corrugated metal cladding and neon geometric shapes.