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The world famous Apollo Theater’s Spring Gala is today June 4th. Michael Bierut and Joe Marianek of Pentagram have been working with the Apollo on the brand identity for the campaign. Lionel Richie is the main inspiration for the Gala graphics, which weave lines from his signature hits “Say You, Say Me” and “All Night Long” into the language for the event: “Say You, Say Me, Say Apollo, Say Lionel, All Night Long.” It also includes lyrics from Etta James. They are both being inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.

The landmark Apollo Theater in Harlem is an American musical staple and cultural icon, it’s been called the place “where stars are born and legends are made”. The Apollo Theater has helped launch the careers of famous names including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Smokey Robinson, among too many others to name.


The slogan for the event is inspired by Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me”


Photos of Legendary Apollo moments spread across the background bring history and hype to the invite.

The bold typography is a condensed Sans Serif Swiss 911, with support from the custom Apollo typeface font and chronicle. Underneath the white text is a black, white and red color palette inspired by the shows historic posters in an attempt to portray an urban glamour. Pentagram approached the project so that the interlocking typography captures the spirit and energy of the Gala, while images of artists in performance at the Apollo convey the theater’s legacy and cultural impact. The Apollo theater will be hitting TV.

Also included in the design package, a large-format Gala campaign brochure for potential patrons and sponsors as well as an animated clip for the Apollo’s website. Catchy and iconic, the brochures and branding are sure to enhance the event and make patrons of all ages appreciate and reflect on The Apollo’s success and history. With branding like this, and introducing ideas such as the new Amateur Night iPhone App, The famous theater will likely be seen far into the future as well.


– Typography for the Apollo posters were inspired by the historic show posters of the theater. Seen above (for reference, not directly inspired by The Pentagram team) is an Apollo Theater Royal Poster – Circa Early 1900’S.


The tri-fold Gala campaign brochure designed for potential patrons and sponsors.


Animated promo trailer designed by Pentragram for the Apollo website.

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