(Est. 1987) “AXIS Dance Company is a professional physically integrated contemporary dance company and dance education organization founded in 1987 and based in Oakland, California. It is one of the first contemporary dance companies in the world to consciously develop choreography that integrates dancers with and without physical disabilities. Their work has received seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and nine additional nominations for both their artistry and production values.” (Wikipedia)
Comrade (Oakland, CA)
Earlier this year AXIS Dance Company asked us to help them rebrand for their upcoming 30-year anniversary. They already held an esteemed place in contemporary dance, but needed a fresh vision for the next 30 years. In early January our brand strategists sat in on a dance rehearsal and met with the AXIS leadership team to dig into the core ideas and imperatives that would shape our work. From there, we quickly iterated on a new brand messaging platform and visual identity system that they could use in time for their anniversary. After a few short weeks of hard work, epiphanies, laughter and tears of joy, AXIS had the toolkit they needed to roll out their rebrand.
The wordmark was inspired by various dance poses, and captures the same movement and fluidity as the performances. Other pieces of collateral were also provided to the AXIS team to inspire how they might utilize the brand for their 30th anniversary and in the future.
Images (opinion after)
It has been a while since we’ve had a truly bad, detrimental redesign on Brand New — I had almost forgotten how it feels to dislike something as much as I disliked tronc. The old logo had a very nice California-New-Wave (minus the 1980s color palette) aesthetic with its heavily italicized condensed sans serif and thin lines. It communicated movement, the idea of an axis holding things together, and, heck, it just looked cool. Its applications could have been a lot better but maybe they just didn’t find a good design partner to carry it out. The new logo is a conceptual and formal abomination. Yes, I think it’s that bad that I’m using such a heavy-handed noun. If it’s meant to capture “the same movement and fluidity as the performances” then I must be the lead dancer of that group because my dancing is as fluid as Dolph Lundgren’s acting. There is nothing fluid about that logo, there is no motion, no elegance, no energy. It’s a terrible combination of shapes and an infuriatingly gratuitous use of ligatures that stump movement. The gradient just adds to the cheapness and vacuousness of this logo. The lowercase “dance company” underneath is the least offensive thing about this logo and that element is mediocre at best. The applications don’t get any better, with circus-like ribbons, more bad typography, and the monotone photographs. The main reason I’m coming down so hard on this is because this organization and its dancers deserve something so much better that properly reflects what they do, the challenges they are able to overcome, and the beauty of movement they are able to create.
Thanks to Deirdre Spencer for the tip.