The Abbey Theatre

Revitalising how Ireland’s National Theatre interacts in a digital world, bringing them up to date in an ambitious and dynamic way.

✦ Brand
A close up of the abbey theatre new logo design by aad

Project team

Brian Headshot Brian
Cat Headshot Cat
Ciara Headshot Ciara
Oisin Headshot Oisin

The Abbey Theatre is a really unique organisation. Established before we had an independent state, it’s been telling the stories of the nation and so much more for 120 years. Research and strategy work by wove highlighted an organisation of diversity, depth and vibrancy, that was struggling to communicate this vitality and valued place in the nation.

The challenge was to develop a brand that would hold a place as an institution of weight at the heart of Irish life, while also being able to connect with very modern issues, and deliver a dynamic, digital age experience across a wide range of touchpoints. From selling a show and providing an electric experience, to also being a serious, vital cultural institution on a National and International stage.

7 lines explaining starting with National Theatre, explaining The Abbey Theatre's brand pillars
The Abbey Theatre new brand logo rotating through multiple colour variations designed by aad design agency dublin

We produced an impactful toolkit facilitating a shift from a reductive approach of only communicating through show images, to a much expanded approach - showing all sides of the organisation, communicating a spectrum of emotions and experiences, connecting with a much wider set of audiences on a range of relevant aspects. A new strategic approach to production images facilitated a move away from the logistically difficult big image per show approach, and enabled the Abbey to work directly with local illustrators, makers and photograhers.

We worked with illustrator Steve Doogan to bring the heritage logo into the modern world and we produced a dynamic brand palette based on the Celtic calendar. Having selected a typeface that nods to the theatre’s ‘right’ heritage and created a series of robust templates to give the Abbey a vibrant new voice.

Rotating images showing the brand applications of The Abbey Theatre brand redesign by aad in Dublin
The Abby Theatre logo design showing the original design from 1904, a redesign from 2014, and the latest logo design from 2024
A selection of production posters from The Abbey Theatre displaying the brand consistency by aad design agency in dublin
Images of various applications of a production poster and brand elements from The Abbey Theatre Tartuffe production rotate

The new strategic approach facilitated a move away from a singular image approach, and enabled the Abbey to work directly with artists, illustrators and photographers. While certain assets and aspects will stay consistent, the images, content and visual language will respond to the nature of different events and evolve over time. And help the Abbey Theatre deliver a safe space for dangerous thinking, filled with electric moments, befitting the National Theatre of Ireland.

Two images side by side. The image on the left is of a woman holding a blue book over her face. The image on the right is of a tote bag being held by an arm with the person remaining out of frame
Poster for the abbey theatre on the streets of dublin