The Ultimate Picture Palace: a new brand identity for Oxford's oldest independent cinema

The brief

Renowned as the place for true film lovers in Oxford, our challenge was to create a new visual and strategic brand for The Ultimate Picture Palace. The goal was to deliver an identity with more depth, strengthening reach to their target audience and ultimately, boosting sales. Our strategists and designers battled it out to work on this brief, with the aim to reignite the art deco brand.

The solution

Following an inspiring conversation with the cinema’s owner, our strategy team worked to clearly establish the qualities of The Ultimate Picture Palace that make it so unique. Delving deeper into the cinema’s rich history and the dedication of passionate staff, we defined the inherent brand values, capturing the “Cowley Road culture” – an expression of East Oxford cool.

For The Ultimate Picture Palace, the strategic work formed a firm foundation. The brand personality and tone of voice provided crucial guidance for messaging and helped us arrive at a simple yet ownable brand strapline that appealed to the cinema’s varied and vibrant audience.

We then approached the visual identity with inspiration from the cinema’s art deco architecture, designing an authentic cultural identity that reflected the diverse programme of films on offer. The letterforms are woven together to construct a unique and highly distinctive marque which works alongside a hybrid sans serif logotype, chosen to represent the eclectic yet sophisticated side of the cinema.

Across the various brand applications, film stills are housed within a tall, narrow crop to create striking scenes usually experienced in a widescreen format. A single colour from the chosen film still is then used to complement the imagery whilst contrasting the monochrome colour palette.

Part of the cinema’s distinctive charm is a passion to uphold true cinema etiquette. To capture this we developed a no-nonsense campaign advertising their house rules ‘No Adverts, No Popcorn, No Talking. Know Cinema.’

The results

The Ultimate Picture Palace team are delighted with the new brand. The cinema now has a solid positioning statement and a clear value proposition that sets them apart from increasing competition. The refreshed visual identity has also empowered The Ultimate Picture Palace team to create beautiful and consistent brand communications that clearly reflect their unique offering.

“It was an absolute pleasure working with the Salad team on our recent rebranding project. Their initial pitch completely knocked our socks off and made our decision to go with them an incredibly easy one. It was clear that they completely understood the distinctive nature of our business, the challenges we face as an independent cinema, and the need for a brand refresh. We couldn’t be more pleased with the final brand design and it’s been a joy to implement it across our print and digital marketing platforms.”

Tom Jowett
Marketing and Events Manager
The Love Awards
RAR Digital