This hand-cast theatre festival campaign puts performance props at the centre

With handmade plaster reliefs and references to the Dada movement, the Zurich-based studio has built an identity that honours the “human character” of the festival.

20 July 2023


For Zurich’s upcoming Theatre Spektakel, Studio Marcus Kraft has created a simple yet effective identity that puts props from a popular show at its centre. The cultural event is one of Europe’s largest performing arts festivals, welcoming over 100,000 visitors every year. Running since 1980, this is the sixth time Studio Marcus Kraft has completed the identity. Prioritising words and a handcrafted feel, the project marks a clear synthesis of all of the Zurich-based studios defining elements: typography, multi-disciplinary projects and “elaborate design concepts”.

The props – hand-cast plaster reliefs of single words – featured throughout the identity come from the Belgian visual artist and choreographer Miet Warlop’s internationally renowned contemporary dance piece One Song, an opening performance of the festival. While some are completely intact, others are cracked and missing pieces; what drew founder Marcus Kraft to the pieces was their handcrafted feel, directly referencing the “human character”of the festival, a press release explains. “I am delighted that our visual communication is so directly linked to the high-quality programme this year,” says Marcus. “It is a real stroke of luck that we were able to develop this campaign together with Miet Warlop.”

Various motion elements feature throughout the campaign, not only to add an intriguing visual element, but to make the most of the words featured throughout. When moving, the 15 words featured “constantly create different and surprising content statements” – this surreal poetic effect directly references Dadaism, an avant-garde art movement from the early 20th Century, the press release continues.

With such a complex concept and theme at its core, the studio wanted to keep the rest of the campaign fairly simple to allow the words on the casts to take centre stage. To do so, the words are paired with a simple yet bold combined sans and san-serif typographic treatment, while the identity maintains a near-white monochrome palette throughout. This approach was both for maximum impact and a means of setting the campaign apart, “with the reduced appearance of the campaign we want to set a counterpoint to the otherwise very loud world of advertising this year”, Marcus says.

To complement the identity, the original plaster props will be displayed at the main entrance to the festival for the duration of the festival.

GalleryStudio Marcus Kraft: Zuercher Theater Spektakel (Copyright © Studio Marcus Kraft, 2023)

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Studio Marcus Kraft: Zuercher Theater Spektakel (Copyright © Studio Marcus Kraft, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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