Ford Theatres is an intimate, open-air performance space nestled into the Hollywood Hills. This hidden gem of a venue with its eclectic programming and expansive community outreach brings the arts to those who want to be close enough to touch it.
Formally know as The John Anson Ford Theatres, the venue is owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles and is run through a three-way partnership between the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ford Theatre Foundation. The Ford summer season was designed to enable Los Angeles County music, dance and theatre groups to produce successfully in a major venue. Unlike a typical presenting model, groups and producers are selected through a competitive application process and receive front of house, production and marketing support, while keeping the bulk of the box office proceeds.
Studio Fuse was tasked with designing a new communications system that would highlight the venue’s unique qualities and create a unified platform for their messaging. We started with a new identity—a self-contained, totally organic, hand drawn logotype designed to encapsulate the descriptives we heard over and over again from their audience: laid back, friendly, fun, playful, romantic, cozy, and welcoming. Couple the logo with a color palette sampled from the surrounding landscape and things started to take shape.
The communications team had already been exploring a few campaign ideas for their summer series when we met. “Find Yourself at the Ford” was buried at the end of the list. It jumped out to us as an empowering call to action—not only to get butts in seats, but to find people like yourself on stage and in the seats around you. It was the perfect way to sum up the Ford’s mission to reflect the diverse cultures of LA County.
With a new look and a clear message, we were poised for implementation. We designed a system of iconography to reflect the look of the logo along with a variety of foundation materials that would act as a launching point for their new visual dialogue onsite and off. Staff, artists and audiences members spread the word about “Finding Themselves at the Ford” and box office sales increase by 5% in the first year, making the new system a hit! We continue to be inspired by the evolution of the brand.