Creative / Design / Interactive / Audio
Founded in 1886, Webster Hall has earned its designation as an official NYC landmark for its local (and global) cultural significance. Today, it maintains its heavyweight status in nightclub culture by hosting multilevel parties across its 40,000 square feet. Every so often the venue needs to introduce something new for its revelers, and when the time came to launch a new weekly Saturday night party, the seasoned management team collaborated with me and my creative team to develop the visual identity.
- Earned 2016 Nightclub of the Year from Pollstar (Industry Award)
WELCOME TO GOTHAM
With so many nightlife options, it was important to shift the focus away from high-priced headliners and instead center the night around the party. Fortunately, I have some direct experience in the space having helped launch the weekly Friday night party, Girls + Boys.
This time the creative team at Webster Hall wanted to evoke a vibe that would be dark, devious and a bit… mysterious. The idea was to create a noir-like atmosphere, unlike anywhere else in the city. From the start, we knew that we were going to be working with stark, monotone imagery to establish a gritty vibe. However, to pull off GOTHAM, much more than a logo was needed. Aerial dancers, costumed staff and a strict adherence to black and white lighting throughout the venue add to the magic of the night.
RESPECT THE AUDIENCE
Prior to the launch of GOTHAM, Webster Hall had hosted a famously over-the-top neon extravaganza, appropriately called Brite Nites. Many of the venue’s diehard fans loved Brite Nites so we sought a design solution that would pay homage to those in the know. My wife, Interactive/Brand Designer, Aviva Buivid, developed a logo that built upon the neon signage from Brite Nites but did so with bare black and white neon tubes, setting the scene for what is to be found inside the venue’s doors.
THE BIG PICTURE
Once GOTHAM’s signage was complete, we had to develop flexible promotional material—flyers, stickers, subway ads—that would stand up when applied across time and space. The noir vibe is supported at the event with an unusual layout for the club where the main act is set up not on the stage of the Grand Ballroom, but down on the floor, accessible to the party attendees, successfully providing a feeling of shared mystique and adventure. This opened up the stage for various theatrical elements as well as a unique VIP bar area.
In a fortunate twist of fate, the public teaser campaign that ran above and below NYC streets coincided with very public promotions for brands with a similar feel—”Mr. Robot,” “Sleep No More,” “Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For” and “Batman vs. Superman.” GOTHAM’s public rollout relied upon a series of mysterious posters that posed the question, “Are You Bored?”, or suggested “Escape the Internet” and “Join the Human Race,” which pointed to a brand-specific microsite, ThisIsGotham.NYC, with no mention of Webster Hall whatsoever. Those who we set out to target would discover what they were seeking.