What does the future of music look like? It's a question that's puzzled industry executives repeatedly over the years as they struggle to adapt to changing tastes, technologies and platforms. DixonBaxi and KOKO might have hit upon a solution, though, as they recently launched a new brand for the iconic Camden venue.
Having opened its doors in April after three years of extensive construction and restoration that cost £70-million, the new and improved KOKO is a 50,000 square-foot art and music venue, plus a global music platform. Launched in partnership with award-winning content company SISTER, KOKO now boasts a 360-degree stage, high-spec broadcasting, and recording and live-streaming capabilities built into the very fabric of the stage II listed theatre.
Bringing all of these upgrades together, though, is the brand identity from DixonBaxi. The venue's new strategy and look were concocted in close collaboration with KOKO's owner Olly Bengough. It sees the venue reborn as both a global stage for the world's biggest musical acts and a space that celebrates the importance of emerging artists.
At the heart of the design system, which includes a dynamically animated logo and an unmissable colour palette, is the concept: 'Countdown to Live'. The idea behind this slogan is to bottle the anticipation, energy, and unique thrill of live events and KOKO's ability to beam this excitement worldwide via streamed performances, podcasts, and exclusive back-stage content.
As for the logo, which is a clever blending of the letters that make up the name KOKO into one design, this was inspired by "symbols of radical change". The aim - and result - was to craft a logo which was simple yet also timeless and classic.
"The logo embodies KOKO's relentless dedication to live music and their transformation of the live experience," says DixonBaxi in a statement. "A beacon for music fanatics everywhere, it's a mark that embodies the unbridled passion, camaraderie and excitement of thrilling live moments while standing for the legacy of one of London's only independent cultural venues."
The logo even stays true to the 'Countdown To Live' mantra thanks to its sense of motion. Where possible, the logo is animated with a rotating sweep and gets transformed into a cinematic countdown before revealing the full mark with beams of the KOKO red flashing as it ticks. "The resolve of the full logo lockup flickers with the same red, building suspense and rippling with the energy of live crowds."
The colour red is more than just an impactful design choice, too. This vibrant hue is synonymous with the rich history of the KOKO venue and acts as an indicator of the space's energy and vibrant attitude. And seeing as KOKO has long boasted a notoriously red interior, this colour choice was a no-brainer.
The clever KOKO logo isn't the only new mark to accompany the brand launch. A whole system of sub-brands was created for the resurrection of KOKO, and each one ties into the core system while expressing its own individual character. This suite of logos includes one for the KOKO shop and the KOKO Radio. The system has also been specially designed to be built on as the brand continues to grow and evolve.
To give a voice to music present and future, DixonBaxi and KOKO settled on the Wallop typeface. This lettering has a clean, sans serif finish which was chosen because it "cuts through the noise" found elsewhere in the music industry. "It's pared-back and minimal with an iconic nature that transcends genre, feeling confident and timeless."
A modern rebrand wouldn't be complete without a digital platform, and that's just what KOKO's been given. Now capable of entertaining London and people all over the world, KOKO's democratised music platform provides a space where new artists can be discovered and well as ensuring the biggest names remain accessible.
"It's a new way to experience live KOKO events from anywhere in the world, which is why preserving the feeling of live concerts was an integral part of the project; every element of the brand is designed to feel live."