Brand evolution for a nonprofit cinema devoted to the presentation and discussion of film as an art form.
Film Streams celebrated 10 years at the Ruth Sokolof Theater in 2017. That same year they opened their second location at the newly renovated Dundee Theater. As they moved into their second decade, now overseeing two distinct cinemas, their brand identity evolved to showcase the two locations and to confirm their place as a key cultural institution intent on pushing Omaha’s creative culture forward.
Cover photo by Dundee Digital
Brand, Web, Print, Environment
Film Streams, Alley Poyner Macchietto, Plaid Mtn.
When the project found its way to us, which included all print and digital materials as well as a new website, the team assembled was very mindful not to “mess it all up.” Working closely with Deputy Director Casey Logan and Executive Director Rachel Jacobson, the brand evolution took what was currently working really well, re-emphasized the organization’s dedication to film, and delivered an expanded identity system that can continue to be built upon over the next 10 years.
Take the Film Streams brand to where it currently isn’t while holding true to what it already is and pay special attention to the ways it can be both new and old at the same time.
The full identity, as a system, was designed to be direct and clear while being able to utilize a library of visual assets, typography, and film stills in a way that kept anything seen on the web or in person on brand and also feeling fresh.
For the logo, we kept the original logotype, arranging the letters around a “screen” which became the core element of the evolved brand showing up everywhere. The theater names were added below the established logo in customized gothic letters. We decided to emphasize the original linocut drawing of a scene from the film The Night of the Hunter drawn in 2007 by Sarah Yale. It became part of the primary logo screen and was the inspiration for a large set of linocuts based on important films shown over the life of the Film Streams organization. The collection was illustrated by Plaid Mtn. The screen then became an integrated way to communicate specific information, either through type or image.
To emphasize the films showing at each location and to reflect the mission of the organization, the new FilmStreams.org was designed around simple site navigation and having a compelling visual for every piece of content. In most cases, a film still. Film, Community, Education, and Membership were the main pages of the site. Showtimes for films currently being screened were designed to be easily accessible.
From the outset, planning for a site very heavy on content with over a thousand individual film pages, our approach focused on keeping the number of different page types limited while allowing varying types of content to feel unique. Series, Courses, Events, News, Membership, the Film Vault, and all needed informational pages utilized the same components. This kept the budget in check, the workflow streamlined, and the pages clean.
When launched, the new site was fast, light, and presented films in a very direct way. After several months of use, as new films have been added to the site, the visual experience for a site visitor continued to feel fresh from week to week. Curated posts for film notes and individual courses were created and easily shared while reminders to support the organization could rise or fall in degree of emphasis, depending on the time of year. All in all, the site reflected the ever-changing discussions being had in both theater locations depending on the films “Now Showing.”
Movie theaters and nonprofits each have their own content requirements. While movie theaters deal with daily (even hourly) content changes (films, runs, showtimes), nonprofits are heavy on informational content (programs, donate, mission). We utilized Craft as our CMS which empowered us to create an editing experience that was tailored for both ephemeral and evergreen content.
For site visitors, we knew we wanted this iteration of the Film Streams website to be fast. We implemented a fairly robust responsive image strategy to keep page weight down. We also spent a lot of time refining the caching strategy to ensure that sections of a page that featured ephemeral content (showtime and ticketing information) could update frequently without causing an entire page to be re-cached.
In early 2016, Film Streams announced its major project to restore and reopen the historic Dundee Theater. The opportunity to reopen the Dundee in midtown Omaha was made possible by a visionary gift from The Sherwood Foundation, which purchased the 91-year-old theater with the intention of donating it to Film Streams. That gift paved the way for the organization to serve as the new stewards of an Omaha cultural landmark.
The work for the Dundee Theater Capital Campaign included campaign branding, single-page website design and development, print collateral, and promotional materials for print and digital. The direction and content for the campaign was established by Film Streams.
We worked closely with Casey Logan to execute everything within the aesthetic sensibilities of the current Film Streams brand while creating a unique look for the campaign. We were heavily inspired by the typography from old theater marquees, the imperfections inherent in the film process, and the gritty texture of the current condition of the theater itself.
With the single-page campaign website, we designed and developed a responsive site that’s informative, shareable, and moves people to donate online. The site design included a video created by Tessa Wedberg and Jonathan Tvrdik, info on the theater improvements, and a full list of campaign supporters. A gift of just $10 got your name added to the site. The collateral materials were designed to reinforce the contents of the website. A multi-piece direct mailer included a quad-fold brochure, supporter card, and return envelope. Two-color black and blue, beautifully printed on thick, uncoated paper.
Beginning in 2016, Film Streams led the renovation and reopening of the historic Dundee Theater on 50th and Dodge in midtown Omaha. Opening day was December 1, 2017. The full project video follows. The architecture was done by Alley Poyner Macchietto. For more of the signage design and environment, visit JKDC.