case study: Ad Libitum
putting bums on seats
A London chamber choir with a reputation for well conceived programmes and a high standard of ensemble singing exist in a city teeming with competing artistic offerings. This makes maintaining a devoted circle of fans, friends and followers an abiding challenge.
The group wanted to grow audience numbers to support their existing financial model. In the first instance, presenting a professional face for posters and flyers was essential to create a consistent message of quality. A recent refresh to the logo and visual house style more accurately captures the choir’s character.
With concert lineups constantly shifting in historical time and stylistic tone, we started with an open-ended approach to placement, allowing scope for sourcing a wide array of both paintings and photographic imagery.
The printed formats needed to multi-task, with flyers that stand out on a scattered table-top and posters that attract passers-by. Each concert introduces a new design brief, relevant to the programme and music on offer and tailored to a slightly shifting target audience. With some concerts’ repetoire ranging in history from renaissance to contemporary, the challenge is to capture the overall concept and appeal to all parties. This has inspired a diverse mix of designs.
As more audience numbers were needed to cover choir costs, it was recently seen as advantageous to create an updated identity.
‘Ad Libitum’ means ‘freely’ and this group has a fun spirit which needed distilling into design. The direction for a new logo sought to capture the choir’s character, bringing a bit more life and humour, contributing to their professional image and helping to raise their public profile.
The concept was to present the lowercase ‘d’ of Ad Libitum as a D musical note which resembles the letter, sitting just below the bottom line of the stave which connects the words.
The initial version was closest to the existing design and evolved by stages into something more unique.
The ‘A’ and ‘L’ in the final design get closest to suggesting musical symbols, visually framing and supporting the D note rather than competing for attention.
The decorative font used for these letters is ‘Secesja’ by Polish designer Bartek Nowak. This is well partnered by transitional serif typeface Bell, with its graceful curves and contrasting strokes.
The whole thing feels solid and confident, and also reads well at the smaller sizes used online.
Looking afresh at the flyers and posters created a clean start for a stand-out style. The new blueprint affords ample space for content and scope for imaginative design.
Here a faded Mozart manuscript serves as the backdrop for dried roses representing eternal rest.
The autumn concert features a colourful cornucopia in a barn corner, mirroring the musical variety on offer.
Spring is symbolised by a first blossom springing from bare branches, in a programme of pieces embodying the concept of hope.
Promoting concerts means digital marketing as well, so additional layouts and click-through banners were created for event websites such as ConcertDiary and Eventbrite as well as Bachtrack, which targets classical music fans.
Editorial design for the 16-page programme included sourcing and editing notes for the five performed peices as well as typesetting the notes, lineup, lyrics, list of performers, biographies and advertising.
With new branding and onine promotion in place, it was time to update their existing website. Keeping it in WordPress ensured it stayed simple enough for one of the choir members to update content for each concert. The new design also stayed simple, but presents a more elegant and professional appearance which will contribute to getting more bums on seats!