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New York City Circles

Reviewed Jul. 17, 2012 by Armin

Industry / Culture Tags /

New York City Center Logo, Before and After

Established in 1943, New York City Center (NYCC) is a performing arts venue, focusing on dance and musical theater, located in Midtown Manhattan, and “dedicated to making the arts accessible to the broadest possible audience.” NYCC is home to the renown Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre as well as popular events like Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert series and the Fall for Dance festival. After a $75-million-restoration to its historic theatre and façade that re-opened in October 2011, NYCC needed a new identity that was introduced recently and designed by Futurebrand.

New York City Center Logo and Identity

NYCC facade and interior.

A bold visual identity was created to bring New York City Center’s story to life. Evoking the architecture of the building itself, it speaks to the important, historic relationship New York City Center has to its physical home. Calling to mind the shape of the stage, the identity uses patterns and colors found in the facility to speak to its beauty and diversity. The mark’s flexible palette can be changed to represent seasonality or mood — reflecting much of the same dynamism found on New York City Center’s stage.
Futurebrand Case Study, Provided

New York City Center Logo and Identity

New York City Center Logo and Identity

The old logo was quite bad, not just aesthetically — swirls plus Bank Gothic, which should only be used for Will Smith action movie posters, make for a gnarly combination — but perceptually, looking more like a logo for a convention center or some new city government initiative. The new logo is much more specific and relevant, combining the stepped facade of the building with an interpretation of the numerous ornamental pattern details found throughout the building to create an icon that looks both classic and contemporary, much like the programs the center offers. The combination works; perhaps it’s not the most elegant and simple of logos but there is an interesting contrast in its forms. The typography is a little wonky: it’s hard enough to pull off type on a full circle and it’s even harder to do two stacked lines on a quarter-circle in a convincing way. The two lines have too little leading which becomes a weird contrast to the extra generous space between them and the arch. The logo works better when “NEW YORK” gets placed on the same circle as “CITY CENTER” as seen on the brochures below.

The identity extends rather oddly, with the introduction of Archer and some watered-down Josef-Müller-Brockmann-Beethoven-poster circle fragments that don’t feel as sophisticated as the logo and the animation doesn’t quite bring them to life in an interesting way. Overall, the new look and feel is an improvement but the collateral materials could be better executed and more relevant to and supporting of the logo.

New York City Center Logo and Identity

Brochures, above. Various materials, below.

New York City Center Logo and Identity

New York City Center Logo and Identity

Web banners.

New look video. Bigger view here.



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Brand New, is a division of UnderConsideration, displaying opinions, and focusing solely, on corporate and brand identity work. More…

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX.

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