A radical experiment
Colliding old and new to inspire diverse audiences.
Shakespeare belongs to the world. It has been estimated that his words are being spoken, in a school or on a stage, somewhere in the world, every hour of the day. Since first he spoke he has never been silent.
At the centre of that world is London, the very banks of the Thames where audiences first gasped at his words.
The Globe theatre is like no other. It is faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse from Shakespeare’s times. Here you really can hear what the first audiences heard and see what they saw. It’s raw, real, and more than any other theatre, it’s alive.
The Globe is an extraordinary experience. But, over the years the brand became institutionalised. The challenge was to bring back the original spirit of the Globe, and make it relevant again for a modern audience.
We embraced the artistic ethos of the Globe. Our approach was not to solve, but to explore, which allowed the guiding principles of the brand – radical, irreverent, physical and experimental – to emerge. Working with the Globe’s cultural advisers, Morris Hargreaves Macintyre (MHM), a new mission statement, for the Globe, or ‘the cause’, was defined: ‘We celebrate Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world by conducting a radical theatrical experiment’.
In Henry V the theatre is proclaimed as ‘this wooden O’, a resonant but geometrically inaccurate description – in fact it is a twenty-sided ring.
For the new identity the last piece of the original timber used to rebuild the Globe was hand-carved into the distinctive 20-sided shape. The printers, St Brides’ Foundation, retained the grain of the wood within the red ink print from the block. In an echo of the Elizabethan tradition, the mark has no fixed size or position – a freedom of movement that looks completely contemporary today.
The colour palette - shades of red, black and white – is drawn from the inks available to printers in Shakespeare’s time. The editorial design of the season’s brochure follows the template of the first Folio, the original 1623 layout looking surprisingly contemporary.
We continue to work with Shakespeare’s Globe, the latest project being radical experiments with its commercial merchandise.
And thus will the Globe continue to hold a mirror up to Nature.
The Globe’s new visual identity has been met with a wonderful reception. The identity is firmly founded on the unique essence of the Globe’s amazing architecture and really brings to life the key tenets of our new Cause and brand model. It has a wonderful elegance and contemporary feel which we are confident will allow us to communicate what makes the Globe so special to both our domestic and international audiences and visitors.
Chief Executive, Shakespeare's Globe
Drum Design Awards
WPPED Cream Awards
1 Creme De La Creme
Brand Impact Awards
WPPED Cream Awards
Creme De La Creme
Creative Review Annual
Design Week Awards
Fast Company Innovation Awards