Project Title: 500 Clown
Client or Class Name: 500 Clown - 500clown.com
Also Silver Winner in Collateral Material – Campaign or Series
500 Clown was a Chicago-based performance group with explosive energy yet little direction for future growth. They struggled to define who they were and what they did to anyone outside their niche core following. They had big dreams of branching out beyond their theater doors to create interactive workshops, build creative partnerships, and boost engagement with new audiences. But first, they needed a new brand identity.
We started out by articulating 500 Clown’s brand purpose: “Adventure to make the familiar unfamiliar.” This defined 500 Clown’s reason for being from its very beginning, and gave them the means to reach out to new audiences, partners and benefactors for a broader offering. We developed a multi-faceted creative solution: A logo and style guide that cleaned up their act, a set of business cards that buttoned them up, a collection of posters that introduced them to the world, and an unconventional brand “book” that was as contagious as their enthusiasm. All of these pieces lived under a new look and feel that aimed to bring adventure to the everyday.
How do you create a design system for a group that doesn’t like to play by the rules? Give them elements that are as dynamic and unpredictable as they are. Supported by a new brand voice, our visual design system captures 500 Clown’s energy and brings it to life both on and off the page. It fits no mold. It’s unrestrained. It’s blunt honesty mixed with “Huh?” Our curated collection of textures, shapes, colors and photography has been crafted to live in unexpected harmony, no matter the combination.
THE BRAND “BOOK”
Adventure is best experienced as often as possible, in everyday moments. Mid-stride on the sidewalk, mid-conversation on the bus, or mid-level on the escalator. So we created a brand book that you didn’t sit down and read, but stood up to experience—making our “book” more of an adventure pack. Inside you’ll find everything you need to provoke strange new experiences and sensations. Just draw two cards, hold them together, and do whatever they say.
We took a mysterious art form and made it coherent. Took a loose strategy and crystallized it into a flourishing business opportunity. 500 Clown’s new brand identity gives them a chance to live their purpose out loud not just as a theater company, but an experience company. They’ve used the brand “book” to start a partnership with Chicago’s Smart Museum, where they’re installing interactive exhibits. They’re dropping their name, logo and business cards around the city to insert themselves into more conversations. And they’re using the posters to promote their clowning workshops, which teach others how to make 500 Clown’s principles their own.
Worldwide Chief Creative Officer:
Executive Creative Director:
Jeremy Van Cleef