Play On Shakespeare

Accessible • Bold • Fun • Smart

Starting as an in-house project at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “Play on! Shakespeare” branched off and became its own organization in January 2019. Now “Play On Shakespeare,” the iconic exclamation point was dropped in the transition. Nodding to Play On’s origins without literally adding the punctuation back into the name, this concept explores a logotype that transforms the “P” into an exclamation point that can be used on its own as a secondary icon. The entire mark is set on an angle suggesting the energetic movement of Shakespeare’s work into the future.

Branding Process

In our first design presentation, we presented multiple options for Play On’s consideration — all four concepts lean into different aesthetics and aspects of the organization.

Chosen Concept: “Play On!”

The chosen mark, shown first here below, later went through two rounds of revision until we had a final approved logo; in Round 2, the typography got slightly less exaggerated in its proportions and the final change included rounding corners for a softer tone.

Unchosen Concept: “Full Circle”

A bold, typographic approach infuses this mark with strength and stability, but an unexpected large “O” shakes up the rhythm of the logotype. The O represents a theatre space (The Globe’s “wooden O”); a portal through which artists and audiences can access, enter and engage with the text; and a “round table” suggesting the democratization of Shakespeare’s work where all are welcome to join in the delight of his stories.

Unchosen Concept: “Flip Side”

Divided by a spine, the two halves of this logotype are laid open as the spread of a manuscript: “Play On” sits to the verso, bold and assertive; “Shakespeare” on the recto, prim and proper. The text centrally aligns towards the spine, each element energetically moving toward one another to suggest a symbiotic relationship: Shakespeare’s work is supported and enlivened by Play On’s commitment to making the texts more accessible to wider audiences.

Unchosen Concept: “Insert Parentheses”

Content within parentheses offers supplemental information to the reader but often does not affect the meaning or structure of the sentence. And like stage directions in a script, Play On Shakespeare’s translations provide clarity and context to the artists for the character’s actions and motivations. Based on the editorial notation, the two staggered parentheses in this concept form an icon where the white space between the two marks form an ‘S’ suggesting how ‘Play On’ is providing the parenthetical supplement to Shakespeare’s original text.