Creative agency Libby & Ben spruce up the branding of the Christchurch Arts Centre

Old and new like light and dark are often juxtaposed but the recently designed new brand for the Christchurch Arts Centre aims to combine both in reference to the centre’s history and a nod to the future, according to the creative agency behind it.

A range of designs for the new Arts Centre brand uses the centre’s well-known archways and infuses them with colours and imagery to communicate all the new offerings available within the precinct.

An example is a pair of dripping popsicles that advertise free summer cinema at the centre on the second Friday of each month.

The agency responsible is Libby and Ben: The Creative Agency, which is owned and operated by brother and sister team Libby and Ben Crawford and a few other staffers.

Ben Crawford, who is also the agency’s strategy and planning director, says they relished the opportunity to create something new out of an established venue and overcome judgements. 

“We enjoyed the idea of the challenge where there was this well known identity but part of the issues identified was that there’s a lot of old perceptions about the arts centre.”

He says the brief was not prescriptive and from the beginning of the project, the team was keen to take risks to realise a new vision.

“From the outset, we realised it wasn’t a time to play it safe. In the past, they have been very black and white and very traditional. We saw an opportunity to create an identity that would be inspiring to the people who were going to be visiting and using the space. We set out to push the boat out quite a long way.”

He says the Arts Centre was very supportive of the agency’s ideas and understood the idea of an evolutionary identity.

“They bought into the vision from the outset and really embraced this idea of an identity that’s constantly changing.”

Nonetheless, Crawford says it was important to maintain some homage to the legacy of the Arts Centre and the archways were a useful motif to do so because they also convey a sense of welcome and openness to the general public.

“It was to provide a welcome to all and then also reference the architecture in the buildings and acknowledge that rich history. [There are] so many fond memories that generations of New Zealanders have of the Arts Centre so didn’t want to lose that but wanted to now look forward.”

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