Established in 1914, the Hyde Park Picture House is one of the UK’s oldest cinemas and the only remaining gaslit cinema in the world. For the last three years, the cinema has been closed for renovations funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Leeds City Council, and the Garfield Weston Foundation.
The institution has now reopened with a £4.8 million facelift by architects Page/Park, which includes enhanced accessibility, a second screen, a cafe/bar and a community room. Seeing it as an opportunity to update everything, it has also launched a new brand identity created by Leeds studio Rabbithole.
Rabbithole worked closely with the HPPH team and a group of local residents to create an identity that would celebrate the cinema’s diverse film offerings. At the centre of the branding is a logo inspired by zoetrope animation, referencing the history of moving images and the Edwardian roots of the cinema.
Another reference to the cinema’s history is through a repeated framing device inspired by the ‘cigarette burn’ cue marks traditionally found on projection films. This is a nod to the Picture House’s two historic Cinemeccanica 35mm projectors, which date from the early 20th century golden age of cinema.
The framing device has been applied to a colourful family of programme strands. Each strand captures the characteristics of the genre it houses, again highlighting the cinema’s range. Connected by the framing device, the genre of each sub-brand is communicated through type choice and colour.
For instance, the gothic Bradley font in sharp magenta represents the Creatures of the Night cult horror strand, and the Karl Marx font in tangerine captures the innocence and playfulness of the Hyde and Seek family strand. A series of animated idents provide a peek into how these strands interconnect.
For Ollie Jenkins, marketing and communications manager at HPPH, the new branding has given the cinema a “unified and coherent voice during a period of change and turbulence, and helped us more effectively communicate with our audiences.”
So far, it seems to be paying off, with over 11,000 admissions during it’s opening month, more than the double the numbers it was reaching pre-pandemic and pre-restoration. The new branding can be seen across the website, posters, programmes, signage, and idents, not only celebrating the cinema’s history but also the diverse community that it serves.