Australian Chamber Orchestra 2020 Season Campaign

The very best project in each discipline at the Best Design Awards is awarded the supreme, Purple Pin for work that truly raises the bar for New Zealand design.

The Client

The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). Throughout its 45+ year history the ACO has won significant accolades and has become a major cultural export, performing over 100 times per year in concert halls around Australia and the world.

The Challenge

In the competitive landscape of arts institutions, how can an orchestra stand out, and not just grow attendance, but develop new audiences?

The Solution

For the ACO’s 2020 season, the answer was a digital-first strategy that led with forward-thinking techniques. In this case the modern beauty of poetic motion design: a collaboration with an international flavour that reflected that makeup of the ACO itself, and intriguing, cinematic imagery that references the layers of meaning and experience both present and possible within the music.

With moving image informing the print and out-of-home campaigns, Substance were engaged to design a suite of animations and stills that would encapsulate the 2020 season. These were set to six pieces of music which had been hand-picked by ACO musicians and accompanied by their personal notes and audio recorded interviews, where they explained the personal significance of their chosen piece.

The music and these stories, combined with extensive research into the history of the composers, their lives, their triumphs and struggles, and the social and political backgrounds against which the music was created, would form the inspiration for the six intriguing and emotive films. The result is a series of short films scored by classical music from around the world, played by a diverse cast of musicians that now call Australia their home, and visually interpreted in concert with a global selection of respected motion artists.

In the ACO’s own words: “collaboration and experimentation lie at the very heart of everything we do.” Substance designed season visuals to capture this ethos: collaborative but curated, artistic but experimental.

Drawing on both the personal significance and historical background of the musical choices gave the designers a world of rich possibilities from which they could create visuals with a broad cinematic beauty and appeal. On a conceptual level these are poetic abstractions of idea, history, and feeling. Visually, each is realistically detailed to appear as tangible and vivid as possible, and communicates the humanity, emotion, and the very visceral responses we all have to music - the shared and deep experience of listening.

This allowed Substance to evoke particular moods and emotions with a level of wonder and intrigue that leaves viewers - ACO aficionados or potential new members alike - interested in learning more. All elements of the 2020 campaign (with visuals used across print applications and all social channels) lead back to the ACO site, where the possibility for deeper connection and conversion may occur.

Judges’ Comments

The judges applauded the unique and original approach to this project. The intriguing abstraction to represent each piece of music really captured the essence in a playful and mesmerising way. Each idea was pulled together with an extremely high level of craft across lighting, rendering and animation that ultimately elevated the work into the Purple Pin spot.