Established in 2008, The Basement is a small, experimental theater in Auckland, New Zealand, hosting theatre makers, dancers, visual artists, poets, musicians, comedians, and more. Its mission is to provide a platform to foster emerging artists, new work, and innovative presentation while supporting a thriving creative ecology in Auckland. Earlier this month, The Basement introduced a new identity designed by local firm Studio Alexander.
Pre-emptive PS. If this week’s Reviews have been outside our normal parameters — i.e., showing big or medium clients with lots of application images — it’s because it has been a slow end to the Summer on the identity redesign news front. This is not say that these last few Reviews are not appropriate but since I’ve replied to some of you that we only feature big clients I want to make sure you know that’s still the main approach, when there is enough material out there to cover two redesigns — two interesting redesigns — each day on Reviewed and Noted.
On to The Basement now!
The previous logo was a somewhat literal representation of their building and the only thing basement-y about it was the words “THE BASEMENT” skewed unto the illustration of the building. Gritty and independent-looking but not very interesting. The new logo is a wonderful play on the idea of a basement that requires going down, using stairs to do so, and the constricted feeling of being in one. The new logo communicates all these while being typographically playful and irreverent. The “T”s at the end and start of each word of the name come together as an uncomfortable ligature that turns a sharp corner to create a stair icon. It’s a fun approach that maintains a perfect level of readability even for potential naysayers.
In application, I love how the logo is used alternately on the corners of each layout and how it helps frame everything from the website to the entrance of the theater. The identity relies on Grilli Type’s Haptik, which is a nice, quirky sans serif that, as a bonus, comes with a “Rotalic” weight that rotates each letter at an angle as seen on the first poster image. It’s fun but it’s starting to become a trend that I’ve been seeing in two or three other projects. It’s not a terrible thing to happen but it’s quickly losing its originality for those that use it. Anyway… the applications try to do too many things at once with different graphic devices and stylings that maybe end up making a cohesive identity eventually but, for now, it seems to be caught between wanting to be very edgy but not too alienating, which is a balance that the logo does achieve.
Thanks to BP&O for the tip.