Hat-Trick rebrands Welsh National Opera

Hat-Trick Design has created a new identity for the Welsh National Opera, working with artist Howard Hodgkin.

The new season book cover, featuring Hodgkin's work
The new season book cover, featuring Hodgkin’s work

Hat-Trick developed a logotype based on a painted brushstroke ‘O’, which Hodgkin used as the basis for a new painting.

Hat-Trick co-founder Jim Sutherland says, ‘When we presented identity concepts to the WNO, we showed a lot of works by abstract artists, one of whom was Howard Hodgkin.

‘It turns out [WNO artistic director] David Pountney knows Howard, so he said, “Why don’t we ask him to do something?”.’

Spread from the season book
The new work by Howard Hodgkin

Hodgkin’s painting is used on the season book cover, and is also used on the new WNO website.

As well as the logotype, the new visual identity also uses a series of brushstrokes, which are used to adapt photographs and paintings. These brushstrokes, created by Rebecca Sutherland and Sarah Harrison, are supported by simple typography.


Sutherland says, ‘The brushstrokes are key to the visual identity, and are used through to transform images and reflect the passion and stories of the operas.’

He adds, ‘It also allows WNO to be quite playful. When we presented the image of Anne Boleyn [with a brushstroke across her neck] we thought, “They’re never going to let us do this,” but they said, “We love it.”’

Anna Bolena
Anna Bolena

Hat-Trick was appointed to the project at the beginning of last year following a credentials pitch, according to Sutherland. The consultancy worked with Jane Wentworth Associates, which developed the strategy.

Hat-Trick developed the identity and brand guidelines, as well as the season book and the new website was developed by Tincan.

Spread from the season book
Spread from the season book

Further implementation work will be carried out by Bath-based Steers McGillan Eves. Sutherland says, ‘We recommended them to the WNO, we thought it would be better for them to work with a more local agency to implement the work.’

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  • Kris Byers November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Nice work, looking forward to seeing the different applications of this abstract concept.

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