What happens when creative forces from different artistic disciplines come together in the name of their craft? Innovation grows exponentially.
That’s exactly what happened when we undertook a comprehensive branding project to rethink the presentation of the Pennsylvania Ballet.
After consulting with the Ballet’s leadership, artistic, and marketing teams, we took on a multi-faceted project that began with creating an entirely new vision for how they present their season and programming. With a need to represent both classical and more contemporary mixed repertoire and a desire, under their new leadership, to better convey the creation and innovation of their experiences, we were challenged to create a bold new look to set them completely apart in how they present themselves as one of the world’s leading ballet companies.
This project was partially inspired by the branding project we had undertaken for the Ballet during the prior 2017-18 season, but represented a much larger and bolder step forward. Utilizing various settings within the widely revered and instantly recognizable Philadelphia Museum of Art as a lovely visual backdrop, we commissioned photography that showcased the dancers in select scenes from season performances. Our initial inspiration came from the Ballet’s planned production of the classic Cinderella fairytale featuring the princess’s iconic midnight slipper scene — a perfect fit for the Museum’s breathtaking signature Grand Staircase. The resulting images were applied to an innovative suite of renewal and acquisition brochures and support materials that we created, as well as a series of templates and studies for billboards, print and digital advertisements, and program covers used to promote the season ahead.
For the 2018-19 season, we began with the goal of creatively previewing and showcasing the Ballet’s work as a stunning form of art in motion that pushes the boundaries of "traditional" ballet, looking outside of production photos or one-off themed visuals common in ballet or even Broadway programs, and instead drawing inspiration from the world of editorial fashion. Our approach combined the simplicity of bold colorways, captivating abstract poses, and minimalist costumes to represent the essence of classical ballets and provide a visual framework for more progressive works, as well. We commissioned photography and provided creative direction and visual strategy for the recreation of select scenes from upcoming performances — reimagined in the context of modern geometric elements and a vibrant color palette.
We considered the new look as part of a renewal suite of marketing materials for their returning subscribers and attendees — including the new concept, design, and copy for a promotional email and companion print materials. We then got to work creating a larger acquisition brochure suite aimed at attracting prospective new subscribers and attendees. Because we wanted to truly bring the new season’s vision to life and present it in a fresh and innovative way for those who may have never attended in the past, we took an approach that was bold but also respected the long-standing traditions and branding of this iconic cultural institution.
When we applied the imagery to the new season brochure, the result was a stunningly unique visual representation of iconic works like Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, as well as the premieres of some entirely new cutting-edge performances. Using a crossover branding approach, the resulting imagery was also applied to social media visuals and teaser videos that the client could use internally to promote their new season lineup.
“This was a special opportunity for us to rethink the interplay of dance, color, and the human form.”
“We were so pleased that everyone involved shared in our vision for this project, and we think the results speak for themselves," said Creative Director David Wolf. “As we watched the materials released and followed the comments on social media, the overwhelming response of the Ballet’s large social audience reinforced how stunning and beautiful the imagery is for the upcoming season, which made us very proud.“