20 Years of the BAM Identity
In 2001 the Next Wave Festival focused, for the first time ever, on a single country’s performing arts culture. The design took a turn as well, as typography appeared to flip onto the southern hemisphere. The axis of the crop remains horizontal, but the letterforms are flipped ninety degrees. A clever graphic manifestation of the programming.
This season’s look plays between black and white, positive and negative. But what’s impressive is what’s absent. This “implied crop” is a graphic trompe l'oeil—tricking the viewer into seeing forms that are not there. Rather than cut off entire typographic stems, the crop is mid-form. This creates the illusion of an entirely other typeface by adding variance in stroke weight.
For the first time since 1987, BAM opens the doors to a new building. This 21st-century arts space, named in honor of Richard B. Fisher, allows BAM to present work from emerging artists, for smaller audiences, in a more flexible space. The design strategy was to brand the Fisher performances with a graphic system similar, yet distinct from, the other Next Wave Festival shows. This identity featured dramatic black and white photography by Nina Mouritzen, all shot in the Fisher Building while it was under construction.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of BAM, its rich history was recreated in the form of a 384-page hardcover book. Tonally distinct from the attention-stealing typography used in seasonal communications, the book features a classic, refined typographic style with large black type, sparingly used for emphasis. The visual impact lies primarily in the archival photography, and the book anchors the sober end of News Gothic’s capacities.