Het Concertgebouw


Inspiration from above

Classically inspired communication

While considered one of the world’s foremost concert halls, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw was missing one essential element: a clear and concise graphic system that united its communication. VBAT’s challenge was to transform the existing, disjointed and limited system into a dynamic identity that would appeal to the renowned music institute’s diverse patrons and fans.

Over the years the Concertgebouw’s visual communication was driven by a half hazard archive of images of orchestras and ensembles often taken by the musicians themselves. Varying widely in quality and style, this approach made it nearly impossible for the Concertgebouw to define a distinct identity and personality across all its communication, invitations and performance agendas.

Classically inspired communication

Rather than creating a system around photography, we turned to the concert hall itself for inspiration. Opened in 1888, the neoclassical structure stands prominently on Amsterdam’s bustling Museum Square. Yet in the humdrum of daily Dutch life few stand still to marvel its countless details. We did. Standing prominently above the Great Hall is an enormous gilded lyre, the go-to instrument of Apollo, Greek god of music. At once visible and invisible, we chose this symbol to design a new graphic system around.

Similarly, we created a new colour palette inspired by the ornate velvet and leather upholstery that can be found inside the beautiful building. These luxury 19th century shades enriched the overall visual experience, but were, at the same time, relatively easy to implement for the Concertgebouw’s communications team. Like the Concertgebouw itself, the system found the right note between classical and contemporary.

Creating an authentic audio signature

After implementing the new Visual Identity for their campaigns, we proposed to consider ‘audio branding’ as a key part of their brand identity. Reminiscent of the eight bars of a musical scale we created a new lock-up for the brand logo

and pay-off. Set to music with an array of scales in various styles: orchestral, jazz, percussive etc. it forms a highly memorable piece of audio branding for the Concertgebouw.

Capturing an unforgettable experience

The commercial 'Unforgettable' revolves around the storyline of two protagonists who differ at first glance, but in reality show a lot of resemblance. An older conductor performs one of his celebrated concerts for the last time in the Concertgebouw, while a young girl visits it for the first time. The moment the girl sits down in her chair and the conductor

starts the concert, they are eventually connected by the Concertgebouw. Both experience an unforgettable moment in their own unique way. It is that specific moment that yields the ‘WOW’ moment of the Concertgebouw, supported by the message 'Unforgettable'.

‘VBAT hit the nail on the head from day one. We came from far, but now have a very distinctive and unique identity that is both flexible and recognisable. We love it.’

Carlien Blok, Head of marketing, communication and sales, The Royal Concertgebouw

Royal Concertgebouw
years of concerts
visitors a year
NPS score 2016

Curious to learn more?
Jan-Willem Bruggenwirth
Executive Chairman
+31 (0)20 750 3000