Avant-garde branding, design and development for Finland’s most innovative theatre.

Espoo Theatre’s renewed brand identity completely reinvents not just how Espoo theatre looks and feels like, but forges a new path for all other Finnish theatre institutions as well. Bold, expressive and unlike anything else.

The bespoke logo composer enables infinite amounts of versions, nuances, moods and expressions. The huge emotional scale compared to the “comedy and tragedy mask” -approach of other theatre company brands makes the brand a performance in itself.

The symbol & is derived from the ligature of ET or et, which is the Latin word for "and".

Structural integrity through typography

A technical approach to typography works as a contrasting and structural element to otherwise free flowing identity with little creative boundaries, linking it philosophically to a stage play where there are strict restrictions with a lot of creative freedom.

Palette is kept mainly monochrome with color flourishes reserved for performances.

The & composer

The primus motor of the whole Espoo Theatre identity is the expression tool. We built a completely bespoke design tool around the unique symbol (based on the original design by Mikael Kivelä of TBWA\Helsinki) with an extensive amount of variables which were carefully calibrated and selected so the underlying closed loop ampersand never disappears too much.

The ever changing and evolving symbol in it’s silhouette form is open to for personal individual interpretations much like a Rorschach test.
When handpicked colors and motion are added the symbol can become an expression of a specific performance or an event at Espoo Theatre capturing the essence of a performance be it a tragedy or contemporary dance.

With the expression tool the directors and visiting artists of Espoo Theatre can design a unique logo or a set logos to match their performances. For use in all digital surfaces motion which matches the tempo of the performance can be easily added.

As the resulting symbols are representations of live performances for the most part we did not want to incorporate generative AI into the tool even though it would have been technically easy. Each logo should have a humane touch and craftmanship to it like the performances themselves.

Editable performance logos (judging purposes only):

The custom composer tool enables an infinite amount of interpretations
A new online presence

A spearhead on launching the new brand was a complete redesign and development from the ground up of the Espoo Theatre web service.

The new web service is strongly visual with the & symbol omnipresent and changing with the content. It contains many underlying grids, but elements are composed in an organic fashion.

Everything is animated through code, the site is fully responsive, accessibility compliant and everything easily updatable through the CMS.

"Tapeworm on acid", "Bra on the floor" or "Mother & child" (Reception)

The new brand was released to much controversy, stirring up big polarizing emotions - like art should. The launch of the brand received unexpected national attention, completely reinvigorating the 30 year old theatre in the process. A selection of quotes from various media were printed into the labels of the theatre's own craft beer for the theatre visitors to enjoy.

Before the launch Espoo Theatre was a slightly forgotten institution nationwide, but the new brand brought it into the attention of all of Finland. The audience now is generally younger and all performances after the rebranding have been sold out.