Gretel has unveiled its rebrand for the Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup (SND) and its highly successful sub-brand for the dance program, Dance Italia. The rebrand centers on a new design language that captures the unique movement style of the group.
"Whether designing for a cultural institution or a global tech brand, we're always looking for work that's unique, beautiful, and above all, true to whoever we're designing for," Gretel founder Greg Hahn commented. "Even for a smaller client like SND we provide valuable insights into the way their business is operating, the way they present themselves to the world, the way they speak, on top of providing a unique identity."
To form the backbone of the brand, Gretel designed a library of abstracted graphic forms based on the group's expansive collection of archival performance photography. "We were drawn to the tension between elegance and awkwardness in Stefanie's work: Quiet meditations and explosive movements. Symmetry and asymmetry. Hard and soft forms," Hahn noted. "Even in still photography, you could sense all of this."
Using a combination of hard and soft lines that echo the dancers' movements, Gretel created a language of shapes as the basis of the flexible but firmly-rooted identity.
"The goal for this project was to mimic movement and dance through the design in a way that is personal and specific to SND," stated Elaan Bourn, Gretel's design lead on the SND project. "By creating a graphic library of forms that represent and abstract the edgy, contemporary and energetic nature of Stefanie's pieces, we were able to visualize the spirit of the rebrand."
"From the beginning, we were conscious of how to create a secondary language for Dance Italia, with a different tone of voice, but which shares DNA with SND," said Hahn. "We wanted to make sure that all of the layers of this brand could work on their own as well as harmoniously."
To achieve this, Gretel played with negative space and color to link SND and Dance Italia together while keeping them separate. A muted pastel, solid form execution of SND allowed for more sophisticated, refined visuals for the parent company. Outline forms with a vibrant yellow allowed for more playful compositions that helped mimic the spirit of the educational program of Dance Italia.