PROJECT: CAMPAIGN IDENTITY 2016 - 17
CLIENT: ST GEORGE'S BRISTOL
St George's Bristol is one of the country's leading concert halls. It boasts superb acoustics and a unique atmosphere which attracts some of the world's best artists from a wide range on music genres. St George's is a charity dedicated to promoting high quality music to diverse audiences.
To create a campaign identity for St George's to be used for one year (two seasons) throughout 2016-17. The aim was that the identity and related materials should become instantly recognisable as St George's Bristol and start a process of reappraisal of the venue. Other directives were that the design should be friendly and welcoming, whilst being appropriate for a world-class concert hall, and to appeal to a newly defined target audience without alienating the existing core audience.
Having presented 3 initial approaches for the design, the selected route represented the iconic building of St George's (and the steps up to it) in a bold graphic way, with more abstract elements to depict the idea of different types of music flowing through.
For me this was a really exciting commission as St George's is an interesting and very well respected venue, at a point when they are undergoing a fair amount of change. Dagmar Smeed, who is the Head of Marketing at St George's approached me to work on the project - we had been in touch over the last year or so, but hadn't worked together previously. I caught up with Dagmar primarily for some feedback on the project, but also to help share some more insights about St George's. Read on...
For anyone that doesn’t know St George’s Bristol, please could you give a quick overview of what you’re known for and the kind of events you host?
St George’s Bristol is an independent music venue and charity, which hosts world-class musicians and provides a platform for locally-based musicians and choirs. We are best known for our classical, world, jazz and folk, as well as spoken word and family events. St George’s has an active education programme. The music venue also generates funds through corporate and private venue hire including weddings.
After 40 years as a performance venue, St George’s is now embarking on a very exciting time with an ambitious £5.5million programme of works about to start. It would be really interesting to hear a little more about these plans and your hopes for the venue’s future.
The new extension will include multi-purpose performance, education and venue hire spaces, an all day café-bar, improved access and an interpretation space retelling the building’s long-forgotten stories within the Crypt. It will be a welcoming space, with a stunning Luke Jerram-designed sculpture hanging in the foyer. Importantly this building will also help deliver the venue’s financial sustainability.
Are there any specific challenges you face in marketing terms?
There are always challenges, especially with limited marketing resources and competition for people’s time and money. We are fortunate that Bristol has such a rich cultural offering but that brings its own challenges especially in gaining cut through. We have audience members who know and have a deep love for St George’s but others that tell us we are simply not on their radar. Building on existing audiences and developing new ones are key marketing and organisational objectives.
Why did you approach Carys to work with you? Was there anything particular from her previous work that made you think she would be a good fit for St George’s?
I had been aware of Carys’ work and approach for some time. I was impressed by her ability to create beautiful illustrations which worked well within the brand and were effective in delivering her clients’ objectives. I liked her ethos, and track record in working for both charities and corporate clients.
Are you pleased with the work Carys has done for you, and how did you find the process of getting there?
I’m delighted with the work. Her design is being used for the front covers of two season brochures, two season highlights fliers, in advertising, signage and across digital platforms where appropriate. It captures the essence of St George’s, the vibrancy of its music and the experience of our audience members. Carys is highly professional, works hard to fully understand the brief, with a view of getting the best outcome for the project. She offered three design routes, followed up by options for finessing the preferred illustration. She was clear about timelines and met tight deadlines.
The new Season Programmes are only just going out, but has there been any feedback from members of your existing audience and do you think it will help you have a wider appeal?
At time of writing it’s too early for any meaningful metrics, however initial feedback from our customers, the St George’s team, our distribution companies and colleagues working in other Bristol arts organisations, has been very positive. The design, for brochures and advertising, is vibrant and demands attention. We are confident it will have a wider appeal and help us attract new audiences.
And lastly, if you had to describe Carys to a fellow marketer, what would you say?
Carys is a pleasure to work with. She is highly creative, and understands brand and the power of effective design and illustration to attract and engage audiences. I look forward to working with Carys again, and whole-heartedly recommend her to other marketers.
- Dagmar Smeed LLB (Hons) DipM MCIM MCIPR Chartered Marketer
Head of Marketing, St George's Bristol
Westonbirt Arboretum: Campaign illustration to promote the opening of the new STIHL Treetop Walkway