"There’s a famous quote – variously attributed to Elvis Costello, David Byrne and Brian Eno – that says: ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ It’s often used to suggest that it’s somehow futile or diminishing to describe a grand creative endeavour in mere words. It’s a quote I had firmly lodged in my mind when Chloe and George (South East Dance joint Head of Communications) asked me to write this blog, covering as it does dance, creativity, design and a bit of architecture too. Wish me luck…
"Baxter & Bailey is a brand design agency. We were founded in 2012 to create brand-focused design that makes a tangible difference to our clients’ audiences and a positive impact in the world. We’re based in Brighton and we work with clients all over the world in all kinds of sectors, from education and charity to consumer goods. But perhaps the sector we enjoy working in the most is the arts and culture sector. To be asked to use strategy and creativity to help arts organisations to build their audience or communicate their values is a particular thrill and one that never gets old.
"We’ve worked with great orchestras, festivals, galleries and theatres, but never with a dance organisation. So we were especially excited to hear from South East Dance in March 2019. The creative brief that emerged from those initial conversations was even more exciting. It would be our task to design an entirely new brand identity, to help shift perceptions around what dance is, who makes it and who it’s for. Our aim was to communicate that dance is for everyone and that – professional or beginner – dance gives all people the opportunity to explore movement, to be free, to connect with others, to tell a story and challenge convention.
"We placed this bold aim at the heart of our design solution, with a new brand identity that has movement in its very DNA. A freely hand-drawn logotype, expressive and abstract brush marks and dynamic photography combine to form an identity designed to move. Expressive language and a fizzily vibrant colour palette add to the overall sense of an energetic and emotive identity.
"Like all of our brand identity work, the real test comes when the new stuff emerges, blinking, out of the brand guidelines into the real world. Which is why it’s especially gratifying to see this new South East Dance branding beginning to appear this month, whether that’s online via the brilliant new website built by Grandad Digital, or – eventually – within the amazing new Dance Space. I hope the new brand identity helps South East Dance to turn heads, raise smiles and even change minds." Matt Baxter