W Yorkshire Playhouse casts Thompson Design

Leeds consultancy Thompson Design has been appointed to develop a new identity for the West Yorkshire Playhouse, following a seven-way credentials pitch against rivals including CDT Design, Elmwood, The Chase and New Black.

According to Thompson senior designer David Smithson, it is too early to say what the new identity will look like. But he confirms it will be “a definite move away from the existing look”. The first internal brainstorming session between Playhouse and Thompson staff takes place at the end of the month.

West Yorkshire Playhouse marketing director Kate Sanderson says the theatre’s existing ten-year- old logo is showing its age. “Visual identities have moved on, and we now need an identity that works across our diverse activities,” she says. These include workshops for children and adults as well as traditional theatre.

She says the new identity must be flexible, but coherent to combine the venue’s different audiences, and she is keeping an open mind at this stage.

The Leeds theatre aims to reflect its role as one of the region’s leading arts centres. The identity, which will go live at the end of 2001, will eventually be applied to signage, livery, printed materials and tickets, as well as the Playhouse’s website and multimedia and film operations.

Thompson Design created a new identity for Leeds Corn Exchange earlier this year, in a bid to sustain the centre’s retail boom.

Architect Austin Smith Lord is collaborating with Cardiff design consultancy Design System on proposals for a new £11.8m arts centre in Newport. The consultancy is working on the graphic design side of the proposal, but has yet to be officially appointed to work on the project.

The building, which will house a 500-seat theatre, a 230-capacity studio theatre, dance studio, recording studio and restaurants, starts construction in summer 2001. The project is funded by the Arts Council in Wales and Newport County Borough Council.

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