19 Aug 2016
I’ve just got back from Stratford upon Avon. I promise not to go all ‘fan girl’ about Shakespeare (although believe me, I could fill pages with that sort of stuff) but I just had to share my love for the RSC brand that is splashed across the theatre and crammed into every crevice of the well-stocked gift shop. I’ve been going to Stratford for years and each time I go back I visit the shop, just to see how they’ve developed merchandise that year and see what sort of leaflets they are producing. A healthy industry interest, a clichéd busman’s holiday or just plain sad. I don’t mind how you categorise me, as long as it is done with style, panache and you don’t use comic sans font on the label…
The RSC have totally nailed their brand and they are sticking with it. The simple, blocky font. The strong, primary colours. The way that they select key phrases and match them with their merchandise. I mean, I know they have a legendary wordsmith as their point of reference (fangirl alert) but with so much scope, such a big team and such a big reach, it has every possible opportunity to go wrong. But year on year, they have stuck to their key vision. New pieces get added of course, but they remain true to their core brand values. The artwork is clear, simple, striking. It is easily recognisable and easy to understand on a global scale. Concepts are often quirky and clever – but never convoluted or ‘a little bit abstract’. The RSC totally ‘get’ their market and they are consistent in their approach across all strands, whether that be signage, merchandise, promotional materials or outreach activities. Everything matches.
Now yes, it is a huge organisation. And yes, I am sure they have a whole team of people with huge budgets. But there are some key messages that we can take away from them and some simple principles that can be applied when thinking about our own brands.