Crafting a brand voice with poise

We designed a multi-layered brand language that elegantly translates the aesthetic into the linguistic.

Speaking to a more modern style

In 2017, Scottish Ballet was debuting a modern new look thanks to a brand refresh by global creative agency, Fabrique. But this work was firmly focused on the aesthetic – it stopped short of a full brand language refresh. 

Enter Blackad, stage left.

Flexing the fundamentals

We’re big on process, but adaptable in how we apply it. This was crucial here. We adapted our framework to pick up where Fabrique left off – translating their thoughtful brand work into a fully-functional language platform. 

Step one was to translate the brand insights into a set of truths that would underpin every piece of content. We expressed these as characteristics that would guide how the company communicates. 

Playing to our audience

Many brand language guides stop here. But we know team members find these high-level definitions hard to put into practice without extra guidance.

So we created detailed explanations of what each truth means to Scottish Ballet, and provided a selection of linguistic approaches to create each effect on the page. These ranged from a compendium of ‘motion’ words that subtly weave movement into everything they write, to a ‘transport the reader to the front row’ technique that reflects the emotional impact of live performance.

Stories for the senses

With the fundamentals of the brand language in place, we turned our hand to expressing it in specific contexts – from a rousing expression of the brand values that adorns banners inside the Ballet’s Glasgow home, to a ‘give the reader a story to share’ approach to promoting performances.

By the time we’d finished, the team were inspired and engaged. And so were their audiences.

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