Established in 1956, Opera Australia, as its name implies, is the national opera company of Australia with a permanent residency at the famed Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne. Over 600 performances a year include productions that range from “baroque to bel canto to high romantic opera to operetta and musicals to new commissions.” This past August, Opera Australia introduced a new identity designed by Interbrand Sydney.
We devised a logo system that could open up opera. From OA, to OPERA, to OPERA AUSTRALIA, the identity expands to contain the rich and diverse range of activities the organisation represents.
There’s so much more to opera than just the performance on the stage, and this new brand seeks to express that opera isn’t one-dimensional — it’s multi-dimensional. The costumes, the sets, the stories, the music, the emotion, the stars, the venues, etc. We expressed this by introducing vertical bars, based on musical notation, to separate the different dimensions of opera. Bars change thickness, vertical position and pace to represent the music. In motion, they move at different speeds, representing different instruments and voices; overlapping each other to open up and wipe content in and out.
Images were designed to communicate the genre of productions; helping people understand opera’s diversity. Comedies feel funny, tragedies feel sad, and romances feel passionate. We engaged the talents of internationally acclaimed Australian fashion photographer, Georges Antoni to bring a contemporary twist to our classic content.
The previous Eye of Sauron logo wasn’t appealing at all and even if it was trying to capture the raw, swirling emotion of opera it just looked like an aimless spiraling ball of fire with semi decent typography. The new logo and identity are more akin to a contemporary art museum that sets up OA as a more sophisticated experience worth the price of admission. The logo is as straightforward as it comes in regards to typography but has just the right amount of playfulness and surprise in the initial “O” and final “A” to allow for some limited flexibility — looking particularly dashing (and promising) on the cover of the 2014 brochure where the “O|” and “|A” serve as brackets for the image within. The secondary typography, an italic serif, helps soften the identity and avoid it getting too repetitive and sans-serif-y and the deeply saturated and colorful images add a nice contrast to the black and white logo. Overall, a really nice update that makes OA look like a world-class cultural organization.