The Egyptian Theater (owned by SIFF) is a high-tech, single screen theater in a historic Freemason Building in the heart of Capitol Hill. They currently have no branding, an eclectic history, and are struggling to compete with streaming services and larger multi-theater movie houses.
Our brand concept, No Choice But A Good Time, captures the essence of the Egyptian and it’s place in the city.
Working as a large 8 person team, we acted as each other’s clients to nail down the brand characteristics. After developing a creative brief, mission statement, and going through a full day-long exercise into what we, as the Egyptian, were and were not we ultimately settled on the characteristics of Nostalgic, Local, and Colorful. From there we split up into our separate groups to create branding based on these characteristics.
My partner, Ivanna, and I started by creating a moodboard for each of the 3 characteristics and then analyzed those moodboards. From there I came up with the concept of “No Choice but a Good Time.” This was inspired by a combination of the theater’s slightly irreverent tone and my background in customer service where often a customer looks to the company to help them decide which option is best for them.
The Egyptian prides itself on featuring smart, unique films. The theater wants to position itself as an expert, especially in comparison to streaming services where a user can search for an hour to find something to watch. At the Egyptian you don’t necessarily have a choice but you’ll enjoy your experience.
Once the concept was decided we began work on the logo. We both brought a unique perspective and it took a number of iterations to land on something we could agree on.
The logo was truly a collaborative element – Ivanna created the initial sketch, I iterated off of it, we went through several rounds of feedback and finally settled on a multi colored projection with slightly vintage altered type. We feel that this logo captures the energy and singular focus of the theater.
Once we had the style dialed in, we both began to work on extending the brand to a variety of collateral. This is the part of the process that I enjoyed the most. I learned that I work best within a set of parameters that I can push against to get the most out of a design; when I am tasked with creating a design from scratch I will get there eventually, but I find the open-ended nature of it to be present more of a challenge.
For collateral I focused on creating the print and physical pieces including a movie ticket, gift card, loyalty card, staff pin, concessions menu, concessions packaging, wayfinding signage. and an outdoor marquee. Ivanna focused on the icon set, typography rules, print and digital ads, and a landing page.
For the menu I started by attempting to group items in a clear way and added colorful high-energy projection triangles as a border around the bottom.
I was given feedback that this treatment did not fit our No Choice but A Good Time concept – it was fun and exciting but there were a lot of options and no clear hierarchy.
Based on that feedback, I decided to play with the projection frame from the logo to highlight the main heading and the libations section (assuming this would be a unique selling point and the most profitable portion of their menu). I put the rest of the sections on grid with only the icons off the baseline to create elements of delight.
As a final deliverable to the client, we created a style guide which collected all our research, design elements, and brand extensions into a reference tool. This style guide is meant to enable all in house designers, outside vendors, and employees to take the brand we created and use it as needs arise going forward. This way the brand will be able to grow and adapt while still looking strong and cohesive.