Established in 1865, Színház- és Filmművészeti Egyetem (SZFE for short and University of Theatre and Film Arts in English) is the only institution in Hungary that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees to future creative artists of theatre, film, and television. Based in Budapest, all of its academic staff are active artists. The university has recently begun rolling out a new identity designed by local firm de_form. (SZFE’s website still shows the old logo but their Facebook page shows the new one.)
The logo itself is part of a complex visual system. We wanted to create a very characteristic, powerful sign that is easy to remember. The form itself gives you the ability to a lot of association in the fields of film and theatre (stage, auditorium, screen, stairs, frames, layers, in the wings, etc.) The proportion of the basic rectangle is 16:9.
With the dynamic system we wanted to reflect on the fact that the university works as a catalyst for the students. There are individual paths, improvement and processes in each student’s life. Besides that, the system reflects on the connection, collaboration, partnership and teamwork behind each production. Viewers only get a final product but there are so many layers of a film or a theatre piece we don’t see at all.
The old logo was very bad, like a failed school exercise in negative space and counterforms. There was nothing appealing about it and it was badly constructed — to its credit, the acronym was consistently badly constructed and perhaps there was some dramatic aspect to it. The long name in the old logo was fine. The new logo has nicer, simpler typography and the quadruple rectangle device has a cool dimension to it. I don’t necessarily associate with a university and mostly I see 16:9 Keynote presentation files stacked one on top of the other but I can buy into the rationale above because the applications are below are pretty cool and unexpected for an academic institution.
The applications get a little repetitive with the stacked, repeating frames but the effect can be very engaging and disruptive in an interesting way. I would give it two years maximum before someone asks to stop the rectangle madness but there are a number of ways in which the essence of the logo could be extrapolated into other identity applications. Overall, a dramatic change from what they had before that helps establish it as an institution that appears bold and confident in its own voice.
Thanks to Ivanics Gábor for the tip.