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MIAMI CITY BALLET
New Branding for One of America's Most Acclaimed Ballet Companies.
UNDERSTANDING THE COMPANY
To create the new brand, we first needed to understand the qualities and characteristics that truly define the Miami City Ballet. We sat down with Villella and the Ballet marketing team to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their current branding, and to define the characteristics that should be reflected in the new brand. The company felt strongly that the new brand should be vibrant, modern, colorful, and dramatic and should appeal to persons who are not familiar with the company and did not attend ballet performances. They felt it was important to have a strong South Florida vibe to distinguish the mark from the more traditional logos of other established companies.
HONORING AN ICON
During our research we examined the branding for many of the major ballet companies around the world. To create something truly unique, we decided that we needed to avoid traditional stereotypes and the ballet iconography often used in competing brands. During design development, we felt strongly that the mark should include some sort of symbol of a ballet dancer—but we wanted to avoid any kind of stylized "ballerina" that was present in many other company logos. Since Edward Villella himself had been a world renowned principal dancer with the famed New York City Ballet, and is an American icon, it seemed natural that the branding should reflect his presence and influence. Our final branding depicts a male dancer in a pose made famous by Villella in his performance of George Balanchine's masterpiece "Apollo". The figure is rendered in an art deco style—a direct reference to the company's Miami Beach roots. The supporting typography features art deco letterforms, and the bold and bright colors represent the South Florida sunshine and beaches. The inclusion of both a strong symbol, and iconic typography was deliberate. We felt that the symbol at times could be used independently of the text, and vice versa, which afforded added flexibility when applying the brand to a variety of media and collateral.
ROLLING IT OUT
Edward Villella proudly introduced the new logo onstage prior to the tenth season's opening night performance. We continued to assist with the implementation of the new branding, creating branding usage guidelines and designing a wide variety of collateral and merchandise including letterhead, press kits, programs, tickets, posters, print ads, hats and shirts. As brand ambassadors, we reviewed the proposed application of the brand to numerous items and publications and made sure that the company and its branding were always properly represented. The logo successfully represented the company for over ten years, until the Miami City Ballet moved to its new performance home at the Arsht Center in downtown Miami.