DixonBaxi creates new branding for reopened London venue Koko
In a flurry of recent nostalgia for the heyday of ‘indie sleaze’, it seems fitting that one of London’s most prominent epicentres of that eyeliner-laden, American Apparel-bedecked ‘scene’ has just reopened: Koko.
The Camden live music venue and nightspot, once known as the Camden Palace and home to indie clubbers throughout the mid-00s, has undergone a £70-million restoration (the site burned down in January 2020 following its closure in 2019, and reports of asbestos and other structural problems) and as part of this, new branding has been created by agency DixonBaxi.
The ‘rebirthed’ venue, dubbed ‘Koko 2.0’, comprises a 50,000-square-foot arts and music venue and global music platform launching in partnership with content company Sister. The restored grade II listed theatre features a new 360-degree stage and high-spec broadcasting, recording and live streaming capabilities.
DixonBaxi was brought in to create branding to be used across all venue touchpoints and its digital platform. The agency worked with venue owner Olly Bengough to develop the strategy, aiming to create a brand that “functions as a stage for the world’s biggest musical acts whilst continually celebrating the importance of emerging artists”, says DixonBaxi.
The identity system is built around the concept, ‘Countdown to live’, which looks to distil “the idea of bottling the anticipation, energy, experience and thrill unique to live events”, says DixonBaxi.
The new look is inspired by “symbols of radical change”, with a simple wordmark formed of the K and O of the brand’s name to create a “timeless and classic” look. According to DixonBaxi, the logo “embodies Koko’s relentless dedication to live music and their transformation of the live experience” as “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 has been designed to work in motion, again looking to convey a sense of energy and anticipation. It has also been used as a ‘cinematic countdown,’ with parts of the logo gradually revealed until the full mark is visible with beams of the brand’s red colour flashing as it ticks. Each of the Koko subbrands, including Koko Shop and Koko Radio, have their own logos to highlight their unique character while also seamlessly fitting into the core visual identity system.
The bright red brand colour was chosen as it both signifies the venue’s history and its famed red interiors, and conveys Koko’s “breed of energy and vibrant attitude”. DixonBaxi also created a new brand typeface, Wallop, a sans serif that’s deliberately clean and minimal in order to work across all genres and feel confident and timeless, while also “cutting through the noise”.
Since Koko now acts as both live venue and a platform that can stream globally, DixonBaxi says that it was important the brand underscored this idea of a “democratised music platform” underpinned by a combination of discovering new acts, big names and “unparalleled industry knowledge”. The agency adds: “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.”