by Owen Williams
A brand is far more than just the traditional logo or livery; it is a living, breathing thing that should engage and communicate with the audience. Your brand is your voice and if it is going to be worth listening to then it needs to be saying something interesting and communicating on more than just one level. Whether you’re a stakeholder, customer or employee, a brand should represent a three-dimensional ‘experience’ that makes you feel part of something and leaves a lasting impression.
It is often underestimated how much design goes in to events and performance art. The level of creativity needed to create a branded environment and take people on a journey is significant. If you’re looking to submerge them in a reality of your creation then attention to detail is vital. Whether it’s a corporate pop-up event or a theatrical performance, the presence of good design should be both abundant and subtle.
At the weekend I was fortunate enough to visit Alice’s Adventures Underground for a friend’s birthday. An interactive theatrical performance of the famous story, set in the tunnels underneath London’s Waterloo station. Not really knowing what to expect, I was blown away by a 90 minute journey through the most elaborate, trippy sets and imaginatively designed characters. The level of detail in the various environments you were led through and the costumes worn by the fantastic actors was amazing. It’s not easy to leave your everyday life behind and be truly immersed in something these days but I was captivated, and slightly disturbed, within minutes.
Having been issued with my suit (7 of Hearts) and led in to a room full of doors by a man who looked like Matt Lucas on acid (the 10 of Hearts), I was soon talking to a giant frog and then bundled in to a closet to compose some poetry with the aforementioned 10 of Hearts for the 4 of Spades, whilst being introduced to a stuffed Raccoon called Steve. And so the madness ensued. Through shrinking doorways, rooms full of mind-bending holograms and a Mad Hatter’s tea party with a rather randy March Hare, this was not an experience for the feint-hearted. But that is exactly what it was, an experience. The attention to detail was brilliant. Whether it was the tea party cocktails in chipped tea cups, the elaborate costume of the Naive of Hearts or the signage communicating the many decrees of the Queen, well-thought out design was everywhere.
And of course the world needs to be realised in a way design-wise that stops you from constantly being broken out of it. — Director, Oliver Lansley
When Creative Review interviewed Alice’s Adventures Underground director Oliver Lansley and designer Samuel Wyer, of theatre company Les Enfants Terribles, they stressed the level of design work undertaken by graphic designers, costumiers, sound engineers, puppeteers and many more. This was a truly collaborative project on a vast scale, with each element contributing to the creation of an immersive ‘world’.
You might think that no parallel can be drawn between a giant talking rabbit and the creation of a corporate brand, but you’d be wrong. Branding and design is all about creating experiences. Experiences that take people on a journey and help them relate to a product or idea. If your identity and marketing is memorable then you are far more likely to inspire custom and loyalty from your target audience, who are on a journey with you from the moment they come in to contact with your brand, whether it be via social media, on a website or a printed advert on the tube.
Think of your brand as a ‘place’ and make it the most interesting and engaging place to inhabit that you can. Take your customers on ‘a journey’ and let them ‘experience’ and feel your brand, not just see or hear it.
You can read the full Creative Review interview with Oliver Lansley and Samuel Wyer here.