Digital make-over for Local theatre
The Mercury Theatre is a high-profile, modern theatre presenting nationally-touring shows and high-quality local productions, with an excellent programme to engage with the community, all centred around the wonderful theatre building. In 2016, the Mercury engaged us to work on a series of brand and digital works as part of local investment in the venue and its programmes.
Hosting & Mainenance
Our initial work was with the new Learning Participation and Talent Development Programme, under the title of ‘Make It’. The LPTD team deliver ambitious and exciting opportunities for local and regional communities to be part of theatre life and the industry that supports it, fundamentally to engage new, developing and existing audiences. The brief was to indicate our approach for the creation of a visual brand identity for the Mercury Theatre’s LPTD offering within a very tight 4-week timeframe.
We learnt that there are many layers to the LPTD programme. Initially, it’s made up of 5 strands: Young People, Schools & Learning, Community, Talent Development and Skills. Each one of these strands covers a wide range of subjects and, within those subjects, adds further layers to create an ever-increasing platform.
So, how did we brand a multi-layered offer such as this? A logo system is how.
Also referred to as a ‘fluid logo’ or ‘dynamic logo’ — at its core, it is a regular static logo with the added potential to alter its appearance without compromising the initial structure. The most epic example of a logo system is the popular ‘Google Doodle’, which changes almost daily to highlight a specific topic or event.
The really neat thing about a fluid logo is how it can be changed to speak directly to a certain audience in varying contexts. Not just working as a signature mark, but adding more potential as a promotional tool for any subject it wishes to convey. Considering Make It’s a broad range of subjects, we believed this was the best approach.
We were delighted to be asked to look at the Mercury Theatre’s main website, shortly after successfully winning the pitch to rebrand the Theatre’s talent development programme.
Having recently been appointed as their creative agency, we knew the timeframe to design, build and launch a new website and introduce a new brand was going to be tighter than two coats of paint, but we like a challenge!
Primarily, the requirement for the new Mercury Theatre website had to allow them more control over the content, giving them access to more options and specifically allowing them to include media-rich content such as video. Naturally, like all of our websites, it also had to work responsively across multiple devices.
With a brief overview of the sitemap, we began with a wireframe design showing how the navigation and content will roughly be displayed, specifically on mobile and desktop.
Liaising with the Theatre’s team throughout the process, we soon moved onto design. With time against us, we made the decision to stick to the modular feel of the wireframe, allowing the text, image and colour to define the layout.
Part of the website had to feature a new brand identity for Mercury Rising — a campaign to engage the public to take part and donate towards the refurbishment of the £8.7 million theatre building. Its aim is to go beyond the traditional theatre, making it more of a community hub, a place to meet, to be creative, drink tea and eat cake. Hence, a new tagline emphasising the theatre’s link to personal development: Story Sharing, Memory Making, Life Changing, Mercury Rising.
We designed a logotype featuring these brand statements, shaping the ethos of Mercury Rising. Our talented team of developers were tasked to not only integrate the existing ticketing system into the website CMS, but also utilise it for Mercury Rising’s illustrated donation page whereby the user would click on a part of the building and select the type of donation they wished to make — whether it be for a lighting rig or for some additional seating. This helped to make the donation experience more rewarding and interactive for the user.
The site was brought to the Houses of Parliament for its official launch by the Minister of State for Culture, Matt Hancock MP, and you can read about that here.
Mercury at Abbey Field
Following on from the success of Mercury Rising campaign, their next move was for covertly relocating the theatre, so it could continue its business whilst the refurb takes place.
We were asked to help with creating the name and a logo, sharing the same aesthetics as the Mercury Theatre logo. After various ideas and discussions, we settled for simplicity and clarity. At the heart of Abbey Field’s offering is the Big-Top marquee, providing the temporary home for the Mercury over the coming months. This was the main element for the design and the theatre chose to use an icon from their website, which we incorporated into various concepts. With the logo complete, we helped create artwork for the programme and an illustrated map to help way-finding to the new location.
We’re very proud to be part of the theatre’s offering. Supporting a popular local arts centre like The Mercury has helped position us as one of the leading go-to creative agencies in Essex.
"We asked you to completely re-build our site in under 10 weeks. You finished it with time to spare. Flexible and talented!" Robin Cantrill-Fenwick, Director of Communications