Set to open in October of this year, Bridge Theatre is a new 900-seat adaptable auditorium and, according to their description, is “the first wholly new theatre of scale to be added to London’s commercial theatre sector in 80 years”. The Bridge will be the official home of the London Theatre Company, an independent producing company founded by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr — who ran London’s National Theater for more than a decade as artistic and executive directors, respectively, until 2015 — and will focus on the commissioning and production of new shows, as well as staging the occasional classic. The identity for the new theater has been designed by London-based Koto.
The new logo is built around a simple icon we call ‘Beam’. Named after a piece of theatre lighting terminology, this bridge like mechanic stays static in position, across logo formats, and becomes the instant icon at the centre of the whole identity.
Even without an explanation, or perhaps in spite of the explanation, the visual play of the logo is clear with the “I” serving as a visual representation of not just the name of the theater but as a more subtle message that this theater represents a path — nay, a bridge — to a better (or at least different) theater-going experience. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it establishes a sense of playfulness, or of doing things differently, within the serious business of theater (represented by the no non-sense sans serif, Italian Plate No2). The execution is spot on… you might think, “how hard is it to tilt an ‘I’?” and while the answer is “not very”, this is done just right with the right thickness of letters, the right angle, and, as a bonus, the right full justified, nearly monospaced typesetting.
The beam — the structural kind, not the light kind used by Scotty — serves as the key device for other communication needs, like the membership logos. Again, although dead-simple, it’s nice how well the beam translates from the logo to other uses and maintains basic graphic continuity. The pairing with Canela is fine… maybe it’s a serif with too much personality?
There is not much in application, only the posters and materials for the first three planned shows of the 2017/18 season that are each driven by one key photograph and unified by the use of the same sans serif as in the logo. All look handsome and nicely punctuated by the logo on the bottom. On the exterior signage… hopefully they’ll do something a little more interesting with the beam, something that spatially plays with the notion of bridging… but, also, leaving well enough alone is not the worst that can happen. Overall, the logo makes a bold and playful statement as it enters the highly competitive theater world of London.