The Center
Strategy - Identity - Digital

Transforming a brand for an ever-changing venue.

The Center wanted to attract a client base filled with passion and vision to create the most beautiful events in Cincinnati—and they couldn’t do that with a cookie-cutter brand.


As the original home of the city’s Contemporary Arts Center, The Center is deeply rooted in design. From the high ceilings and unique light fixtures to the 15,000 square feet of shining hardwood floor, the space is the perfect backdrop for completely unique events—but The Center’s bookings weren’t matching up to its potential. Their team asked Hyperquake to help solidify their key consumers and mission in the form of a Brand Core, which would become the strategic and emotional foundation for a fresh, compelling brand identity.

Our discovery process began with an audit of regional event venues. The Center hosts three primary event types—weddings, social gatherings and corporate events—which became the structural skeleton around which we built three Aspirational Consumers, key personas representing The Center’s broader desired client base. As we constructed these personas, they provided direction for the tone we would take as we continued to develop the brand, informing The Center’s new strategic positioning, verbal messaging and visual style. The competitive audit also revealed the “blank canvas” as a key differentiator for this space; as a former museum, its expansive floorplan and broad menu of décor vendors permit The Center to adapt, night after night, to any creative vision.


Ultimately, The Center’s team is in the business of selling their space—and no logo alone can do that. We learned that potential clients were often intimidated by the aesthetic possibilities and organizational chaos that goes along with designing a personalized event. So Hyperquake, concurrently with the brand development, partnered with photographer Adam Leigh-Manuell to art-direct four photoshoots showcasing the space configured for a variety of event types and layouts, using stills and timelapse video. During client showings as well as online, these images are composed to help potential guests visualize the possibilities for their own event, from the head count to the centerpieces.


During visit after visit, as the Hyperquake team became more familiar with the space itself, we began to discover an existing design language inherent within The Center. High ceilings, modern materials, minimal construction, and plenty of 45 and 90-degree angles are offset by a multitude of subtle circular details in the architecture and interior design. A holdover from its gallery days, The Center evokes an atmospheric timelessness and tranquility that is maintained throughout upscale galas and low-key gatherings. We began to explore the visual execution of these qualities—always keeping in mind that everything we created must pay up graphically to the character already inherent in the physical space.


As the brand evolved, a primary palette of black and white was a clear choice—strong and ageless, but neutral enough to live alongside a tremendously varied portfolio of photography. Typographically, a contemporary, geometric sans serif pairs with one of the most classic humanist serifs to allude to The Center’s elegant historical roots alongside modern amenities. The circular details that first captured our attention became a suite of intricate patterning, creating moments of elegance and surprise to be showcased throughout the brand materials. As a whole, the material quality and graphic restraint utilized throughout the collateral suite is softened by rich photography and soft blush-toned papers.


The Center’s website was reworked to integrate the new brand—not only from a graphic angle, but even down to the verbal messaging used on every page. A gallery with new functionality showcases a full portfolio of event albums, helping guests to visualize The Center's potential. Approachable but aspirational; modern but ageless—the new site is designed to capture the mood of walking through The Center’s open space, drenched in natural light and possibilities.


The Center has always been a wholly unique venue within the region, offering customization options and client assistance far beyond the industry standard. At last, their print and digital presence can shine a light on The Center’s best qualities, differentiating them from the standard venue options around town—and inviting clients to create their own stunning events against this blank canvas, stroke by stroke. We look forward to watching The Center provide downtown Cincinnati with beautiful memories for years to come.

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