First awarded in 1956, The Ivors “celebrate, honor, and reward excellence in UK and Irish songwriting and composing”. Awarded by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors (BASCA for short, although recently renamed Ivor Academy), an Ivor Novello Award — named after Britain’s most successful and distinguished theatrical composer at the time they were created — represents peer recognition for exceptional achievement across classical, jazz, screen composing, and songwriting. Past winners, across various categories, range from Elton John to Phil Collins to Annie Lenox to Madonna to, even, the Spice Girls. With the 2019 awards ceremony, The Ivors introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based The Playground.
The Playground were commissioned to rebrand The Ivors awards, making them fit for digital and more importantly creating an icon for an award that had long become unrecognisable to the point of obscurity. At the heart of the rebrand, a new icon would act as a literal figurehead for the brand and a marque of exceptional quality within the songwriting and composing world.
The Ivors statuette had never been depicted in a manner befitting its prestige. We created an iconic illustration of Euterpe - the Greek muse of lyrical poetry - forming an inspirational rallying point designed to inspire future award winners and a recognisable symbol for the awards themselves.
The old statuette icon was a little creepy and weird, with the facial features being somewhat indiscernible. The new icon is more streamlined, understandable, and reproducible. It’s a hard drawing to nail down and they almost got it quite right. The eyes, nose, mouth, and hair are really good but the shadow on the cheek, the jawline, and the way the neck ends aren’t quite right. It’s still a huge improvement over the old and a strong rendition to build the identity around. I also appreciate proper black and white versions of the icon that keep the shadows dark instead of just changing the black vectors to white. The detailed illustration is quite nice and it solves better the problem areas in the flat icon. The illustration style and features remind of the Metropolis poster (which is a good thing).
Redrawing the wordmark created a modern interpretation of an historic marque, designed to work equally well on screen as in print, whilst a new typographic approach and reworked colour palette drew on the brand’s rich heritage and reflected its position as arbiter of cutting edge talent.
The evolution of the wordmark may not seem like the most exciting but I think it’s a huge improvement. The bolder weight, stubbier serifs, and the shapes of each letter are all more interesting and better suited for a logo. Good job too on the “THE”.
The applications are quite nice with a color palette of black, white, and warm gray plus the pops of color from the artist photographs. Paired with crops of the illustration and mixing in the logo and a funky sans serif, the posters and ads manage to look classic yet contemporary.
Overall, this is a solid identity that has the potential to increase the awareness of The Ivors, perhaps not to The Emmys, The Grammys, The Oscars, and The Tonys level but that’s ok because EGOTI doesn’t quite have the same ring.