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Press Release: ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET UNVEILS NEW REBRAND AND COLLABORATION WITH VIVIENNE WESTWOOD


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ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET UNVEILS NEW REBRAND AND COLLABORATION WITH VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

 

English National Ballet is pleased to reveal details of its new rebrand, which includes an exciting collaboration with designer Vivienne Westwood, in a creative brand campaign for 2013.

 

Confident, creative and contemporary, the new English National Ballet identity has been designed to reflect and support Artistic Director Tamara Rojo's leadership and vision, of becoming the UK’s most creative and most loved ballet company. Working closely with Tamara, creative agency The Beautiful Meme created a logo (representing both speech marks and shoes en pointe) communicating a core truth that everyone in the Company, from young dancers to the outreach team, has something to say.

 

This season's brand campaign with fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and show imagery captures the creative collaborations English National Ballet is driving, with photographers, stylists and designers coming together to interpret themes of individual shows. Taking a cue from fashion, all the collaborators in creating this imagery are credited.

 

Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, said that the collaboration was the first fulfilment of her stated ambition to forge great partnerships with people working in other art forms: “I am thrilled that Vivienne Westwood has agreed to let us use her clothes in our first campaign. It’s a dream come true to be able to collaborate with someone of such stature. Her designs capture the creativity and ambition of our dancers who, in turn, add drama and movement to the clothes.”

 

A spokesperson from Vivienne Westwood said: “We are delighted to be working with the English National Ballet as both brands have a history and synergy that work together - it’s a perfect collaboration of English tradition.”

 

Tom Sharp, Creative Director of TBM, explained the vision behind the campaign: “It is about taking dancers out of tutus and moving away from conventional backstage images to show the intensity and creativity of the dancers. The Company's directive is to respect the tradition of ballet but build on it, and our copylines are designed to reflect but challenge a perceived view of the art form. Tamara Rojo inspires unusual collaborations so to create a campaign that combines choreography, amazing fashion and beautiful photography demonstrates her ethos in every single image."

 

The Vivienne Westwood collections were chosen specifically to emphasise this non-conventional but classical image. The couture garments used within each image were specially selected from both Vivienne Westwood’s extensive archive and paired with pieces from the latest Spring -Summer 2013 collections - to continue this idea of mixing modernity with tradition. Both the clothes and the images created symbolise this feeling of British avant-garde and are seductive and elegant yet commanding. They reference historical dress and British culture, whilst most importantly celebrating the human form.

 

In Vivienne Westwood’s own words: “My clothes allow you to project your personality, and are theatrical in the sense that they are real clothes, well-designed, and they give you a chance to express yourself.”

 

The rebrand incorporates a new logo, a series of dramatic new production images, a palette of new colours and a brand new website to help make English National Ballet distinctive and recognisable to audiences both at home and around the world. The new website can be found at www.ballet.org.uk and provides full information on all aspects of the Company from production and performance details to information on classes and workshops, fundraising and sponsorship, staff and dancers and provides the perfect opportunity to have look at the Company’s new appearance.

 

Used throughout external marketing materials and across the interior of the Kensington studios, the logo introduces bold statements from the dancers, costumiers, designers and audiences. The statements mirror those the dancers make on stage through the ballets in seasons to come. The new wordmark features a customised cut of the ‘Aktiv’ typeface, which was developed in collaboration with world-renowned type foundry Dalton Maag. Collaborations such as these are at the heart of the Company’s vision to be the UK's most creative ballet company.

 

As seen in Our Story* the new brand identity which accompanies Tamara Rojo's leadership celebrates the traditions of the ballet art form, whilst making it clear that the Company are driven to explore new ways ballet can be fantastic, challenging and open to all. The new brand will underpin the Company’s strategy and artistic direction; to turn English National Ballet into England’s most creative and most loved ballet company, embracing and commissioning brave new works whilst keeping the classics relevant.

 

Ends

 

 

Notes to Editors

English National Ballet aspires to be the world's leading touring classical ballet company, presenting the highest possible quality ballet to new and established audiences nationwide. The Company aims to develop the popular classical repertoire, including repertoire that is entirely individual to English National Ballet, and to present that repertoire to as wide and sustainable an audience as possible.

 

*Our Story

We danced before language and this is our promise. Through our art we will tell your story. We will dance the times you fell in love. We will dance your dreams and your fears. We will dance your death. Our suspended moments, grand glories, kaleidoscopic whirlings, rats, swans, firebirds, heroes, heroines and tracing of psyche are your mirror. We are not dolls. We are artists, young and hungry. At war with gravity to capture poetry from air. We do not exist to embalm traditions. We exist to cherish them and then create more. We leap and grasp for the new. We are for everyone. Watch ballet and you are not rich or poor. Cultured or barbarian. Brain or brawn. You are human. Full of lust and adventure. We are yours and we are you.

 

About Us

We are a bold company of ambitious dancers, choreographers, costumiers, musicians and designers. We perform ballet anywhere. Led by our artistic director, internationally renowned ballerina Tamara Rojo, we reach for innovative collaborations, creative excellence and bold ways of honouring, but adding to, traditional ballet. We dance to conjure wonderful, beautiful visions and because we have something to say.

 

Development

Our vision is to be the UK’s most creative and most loved ballet company. Our partnerships with individuals, funders, brands and trusts and foundations are key to achieving this, whilst helping to enrich the UK’s cultural life.We stand for artistic excellence, bold creativity whilst honouring and building upon tradition. Our partners recognise this and benefit from association with one of the world’s finest ballet companies. If you or your company would like to discuss how you could enjoy a collaboration with us talk to the Development team on 020 7590 2950.

 

Vivienne Westwood

With a design record spanning over forty years, Vivienne Westwood, the designer and iconic British brand is recognized as one of the most influential fashion designers in the world today and is one of the last independent global fashion companies in the international fashion arena. At times thought provoking and always avant-garde, this brand is more than about producing clothes and accessories - its three dimensional culture also captures the imagination, raising awareness and generating positive action. In 2004, a major retrospective of the brand was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the largest exhibition of its kind for any living British designer. It subsequently toured the world for five years and was exhibited in over ten cities. Vivienne Westwood’s contribution to fashion was officially recognized when she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Second in 2006. Vivienne Westwood produces 4 clothing labels, leather goods, jewellery as well as a range of other accessories, fragrances, furniture and home ware.

Edited by Janet McNulty
Edited to add the "notes to editors"
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I like the new logo (and the concept behind it), the new art work (the collaboration with Viviennne Westwood) and, in particular, the new "What's On" section where all performances and events are clearly laid out. The section about the dancers is still a bit dull (it could do with some colour and some new headshots) and it is a shame that there is no biographical information about anyone below first artist level. Strangely, the coloured logo does not appear on the front page of the site. It's very impressive that Tamara has managed to get this done in such a short time.

 

 

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I agree with Aileen's comments about the website. It would be really nice if the dancer bios could have photographs of the dancers in Vivienne Westwood's clothes rather than just the boring black and white headshots. I too would welcome bios for ALL the dancers.

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It certainly has a way to go ,what is it representing? what do the captions mean ?it bears no relation to ballet or dance nor does it represent the current repertoire ,and must have cost a fortune .I agree the Whats on segment is clearer ,but same old photos of the dancers (none of the artists) all in all I am underwhelmed .,no doubt I will be in a minority!!

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Certainly seems strange that nearly a third of the screen 'real estate' (the top of the website that is) is basically empty, given the use of widescreen screen devices including tablets and smart devices these days, they are loosing a lot of impact space.

 

The use of half gbyte images (sorry for the tech bit) on the front page might be fine for users on fast broadband, but many users are still on slower broadband and mobile data packages which effects page load times, so some optimisation may also be required.

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I'm always a bit suspicious when the branding firm has to explain the logo. Did any of us look at it and instantly say "Oh, that's a quotation mark that also happens to look like feet on pointe!" Maybe y'all did, but I sure didn't!

Getting a new logo with a new artistic director seems popular. When James Kudelka took over at the National Ballet of Canada, the logo became something that the audience members unaffectionately called "The Worm" (unfortunately all evidence of it seems to have been expunged from Google), which was in turn replaced when karen Kain took over by a "logo" which is simply the name of the company in Helvetica.

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It certainly has a way to go ,what is it representing? what do the captions mean ?it bears no relation to ballet or dance nor does it represent the current repertoire ,and must have cost a fortune .I agree the Whats on segment is clearer ,but same old photos of the dancers (none of the artists) all in all I am underwhelmed .,no doubt I will be in a minority!!

 

Speaking to several people at the ROH yesterday there was a common concern that ENB will have invested heavily in a rebranding (leaflets as well as the website) which will not bear the dividends it seeks. For the sake of the Company one hopes that we are all wrong, but........!!!!!

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Rebranding is always going to be a risky (and expensive) undertaking, and you are never going to please everyone, but I think that ENB needs to do it with a view to establishing an identity which is distinct from that of the RB who are not only richer and better known but have the benefit of a prestigious address and a permanent home. As well as persuading occasional ballet-goers to go and see more, ENB needs to attract new audiences. Where the RB has been extremely clever is attracting Wayne McGregor's many fans into the Opera House to see his works as part of mixed bills including works by other choreographers. I'm very interested in the overlap between ballet and contemporary dance. As I have said on a previous thread, whenever I've gone to Sadler's Wells to see ballet I've met people who are primarily interested in contemporary dance but who have come to see the (ballet) performance because they are members and go to see a variety of dance. San Francisco Ballet had no difficulty filling Sadler's Wells for I think ten performances and I'm pretty sure that many in the audience were not RB or ENB regulars. Of course, SFB put on three programmes of modern works, and the (name) association with a city with a cool image will have helped to sell them. I wonder whether ENB should stage its mixed bills (particularly those including new choreography and works by more contemporary choreographers such as Bejart and Kilian) at Sadler's Wells.

 

 

 

 

 

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I am shocked that ENB said it did not know the cost of the rebrand. Surely anything of that kind needs to be planned and budgeted for very carefully before it is approved and the process then closely monitored to ensure it stays within agreed limits. Perhaps (hopefully) it was simply a case of the spokesperson being poorly briefed?!

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"A spokeswoman for ENB said the company did not yet have all the figures on how much the rebrand cost."

 

That comment means that they do know but don't want to tell you. A classic get-out comment when you don't want to talk about controversial costs.

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I liked the old logo. I can see why Tamara wanted a re-brand - new AD, clean slate - but the new logo does nothing for me at all. I'm perturbed by the lack of knowledge about how much the re-branding cost; they jolly well should know (and should have been prepared for the question). Either they don't know (why not?) or perhaps they do know and don't want to say!

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Either they don't know (why not?) or perhaps they do know and don't want to say!

 

That's what I said earlier Spanner. They do know but don't want to say.

 

I applaud the brave decision to re-brand. i think that ENB needs to establish an identity that is very different to RB and I think they need to be funkier and more contemporary (in the general sense of the word, not the ballet sense) and push a few boundaries. I'm not wholly sold on the speech mark/pointe shoe idea but it looks modern and is far, far better than the new offering from ITV recently. The trouble is, these marketing/advertising agencies always sound so plausible and convincing when you work with them, but you never quite get what it is you were after to begin with and end up bowing to their 'expertise' - from one who knows the pain of working with these people!

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It can take quite a while before the full costs of a rebrand come out. It's not only the payment to the consultancy for the design and its implementation on the web page, it's all the stationery and all sorts of other little things you don't even remember to think about. We went through "rebranding" a couple of times in work and, genuinely, it was always months before the final costs were realised.

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I'm not wholly sold on the speech mark/pointe shoe idea but it looks modern and is far, far better than the new offering from ITV recently.

 

It just shows you how different we all are, I like the new ITV logo, and the way its been incorporated into their advertising is quite clever. If you take it out of context its clear what the logo relates too.

 

I see that ENB have also developed a new font set to spell out ENB for use in context and that the logo is actually orange and red, but on the computer screen its difficult to see the subtle use of the two colours (maybe I'm just colour blind).

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Does anyone know how much the new ROH website and "One Extraordinary World" advertising campaign cost? Those overseas photoshoots with Polunin, Sarah Lamb etc (which I personally liked) must have cost a fair bit, but did they achieve anything in terms of public visibility, ticket sales etc? Marketing, publicity and (re)branding are always going to be uncertain exercises but they have to be done. I can see that I am in a minority in liking the new logo. tTM, I don't know why you can't see the two colours. They're very clear on my iPad. Actually, my husband's business is undergoing a re-branding at the moment. It is enormously difficult deciding what to go for. You will never find anything that everyone likes unless you go for something very bland, which defeats the point of the exercise. My husband has told me that there is certainly something of the comedy programme 2012 about the whole business, with him stuck in the middle as the Ian figure (I think that was his name).

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There's quite a comprehensive review (but not a critique) of the rebranding on the Design Week website. Seems strange that The Beautiful Meme, the designers, have a website which mainly says "this is not our actual website". Doesn't inspire great confidence but from it I've learnt a new word, sigil, which I guess is what the opening quotes logo is – a symbol considered to have magical power. It's supposed to represent "We have something to say", but to me it just looks like one of those bright conceptual ideas from a brain-storming meeting which don't convey any particular meaning without explanation and even then seem very weak. The whole point of a logo is that it instantly and easily says something about the brand or company it represents. This doesn't, at least not to me. And equating blocky quotes and pointe shoes, I ask you! And doesn't ballet have something to do with grace?

 

Others have commented on the salmagundi of font sizes and weights. I thought all that had been banned by the web design police years ago. As for the fashion stuff, It must be thought that ballet dancers are frowsty frumps who need exotic clothes to brighten them up a bit. Is that the idea? Ballet can't be sold as ballet so sell it as fashion?

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As for the fashion stuff, It must be thought that ballet dancers are frowsty frumps who need exotic clothes to brighten them up a bit. Is that the idea? Ballet can't be sold as ballet so sell it as fashion?

 

My opinion of Vivienne Westwood's clothes changed some years ago on a wet Sunday afternoon when I took a bored niece to the Liverpool Museum. There was a display of ballgowns by VW belonging to Lady MacAlpine. The were utterly gorgeous and divine.

 

I see a mutually advantageous relationship between designer and company here. VW gets to see her clothes worn by very beautiful people and the dancers get to wear utterly gorgeous clothes.

 

Sadly these days it's all about image and these striking photographs may attract newcomers.

(I was so taken by her ballgowns and indeed the clothes in her shop that, if I had the appropriate physique, I would bankrupt myself to wear them!)

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