Ireland‘s national theatre, The Abbey Theatre, has played a significant role in the culture life of Ireland for over a century. In 2006 following a financial crisis at the theatre the government intervened and appointed Fiach MacConghail as the new director. One of the many challenges facing Fiach and his team was how to reconcile the Abbey’s history with its relevance both artistically and commercially in contemporary Ireland. Zero-G were asked by the Abbey to work in partnership with their core team to discover how the Abbey could constructively and creatively engage with 21st century Ireland while recognising its immense past and its key public service role as Ireland's national theatre.
Through a series of internal meeting and workshops, and via deep contextualising desk research, Zero-G worked with the internal Abbey team to understand the culture and history of the organisation and the possibilities that existed to refresh the brand. Building on themes of nurture, communion and creativity we developed a brand story and a refreshed visual identity which appropriated elements from the early days of the Abbey Theatre. The process provided opportunities to reconnect the staff with a renewed vision and purpose for the Abbey which was in turn supported by the design of a new typeface and guidelines.
The redesign included a new range of formats designed to increase quality while reducing costs. A pocket size format was introduced for show programmes that promoted the collectability of the Abbey’s outputs and the more contemporary approach to poster design achieved greater visual impact and recognition of the theatre’s output.
The new identity has been celebrated for providing a point of continuity and cohesion for the Abbey. It has achieved iconic status and is recognised by tourists and theatre-goers alike. Over thirty new writers have been commissioned since the redesign and the Abbey has used its stages to engage with issues of political and social relevance with a new found confidence.
Zero-G has recently been reappointed to the Abbey providing design, art direction, and general strategic communications support.