A more accessible opera

Stockholm communications agency Lowe Brindfors has created a flexible new graphic identity for local opera house Folkoperan.

Stockholm communications agency Lowe Brindfors has created a flexible new graphic identity for local opera house Folkoperan.

The new identity is designed to make the opera house feel more accessible and was launched to coincide with a major redesign of the building.

“Folkoperan has been going through a few changes recently [it’s also hired a new artistic director] but the main reason for a new identity was the change in its activities, with more types of productions than before. Also, the logotype hadn’t been touched since the start of Folkoperan in 1976. The client was really clear on wanting a revolution and not an evolution of the identity,” says Noel Pretorius, who art directed the project with Kalle dos Santos.

The identity was inspired by the Art Deco venue and typefaces of the period, and the new logo features a flexible illustration of a song bird which will be adapted to suit print and digital communications and signage.

“This playful metaphor reflects different moods, is flexible to use and interacts with the logotype depending on the message or use. Our symbol flies, sits and sings. Sometime’s he’s happy, sometimes mischievous and sometimes, sad. It depends on the performance and the context,” explains Pretorius.

The sans-serif letters in the building’s original signage, below, provided a starting point for the design, says Pretorius, and the A, B, G, R, Å & Ä were applied to a more modern cut of Futura for the new signage system and headline font. “The bird is also made up of typographic elements based on strict geometric shapes of the logotype’s early twentieth century-inspired forms,” he adds.

The colour palette matches the red used throughout the building’s updated interior, coupled with black, grey and white.

Lowe Brindfors is also working on an animated version of the song board which could be used for digital communications. The agency has worked with the opera for more than 10 years and Pretorius hopes the new look will convey its more experimental programming.

“The existing happy and sad opera masks [in the old logo, below] were a little dated. We wanted to find a new, playful metaphor not as commonly connected to classical opera, since Folkoperan is such an experimental opera house. We also believed the crown on the original logo was better suited to the Swedish Royal Opera House and not Folkoperan, which means ‘The People’s Opera’. The new identity hopefully feels more inviting to newcomers in opera.”

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