Redesigning the Barn Programme

OpenBoxDesign were asked to do a complete redesign of the Barn’s quarterly Programme. The programme is often to first point of contact with the public and needed a comprehensive appraisal as it no longer fitted in with what had naturally become the new branding ethos that we had produced.

The Barn Programme cover June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016
The Barn Programme spread June-September 2016

The concept

The previous brochure design was informative but uninspiring. It used a very rigid layout of three events per page with half of the space taken with an image and the other half with text. It was felt that it wasn’t exciting enough and was no longer contemporary.

After creating a new identity for the Barn we were asked to then look at how the ethos of the identity could filter through to the programme.


The overarching consideration is that the Programme needs to inform. It needs to contain all the information required in an easy to understand structure. It needs to work in a way that the reader can access information in a structured way – either by dipping in at a certain point or by reading cover to cover. Therefore, the Programme has been designed in separate sections – events, workshops (children, adults, families), exhibitions, residencies, talks – and are in chronological order. There is also a quick guide at the end of the publication to refer to.

The publication also needs to house a number of adverts and it needs to be cost effective. Being cost effective means we have to marry the experience of the reader with the page count – there isn’t any point in producing a design which doubles the size of the brochure and therefore costs too much to produce and distribute or doesn’t fit in the dispensers where the Programme would be seen.

The design

After completing an in depth analysis of how the Programme should work we opted for a more fluid layout than before. Essentially, the events occupy two to three per page but within this is a different split to how there are represented, often with one event taking a half page with the other two taking up a quarter. This allows some events to have more prominence or be selected in terms of their visual appeal (by way of photographs).

Speaking of which, images are far more prominent. We often use type over images allowing the images to be more connected and larger than before. Filters are used to darken images subtly to ensure that the type is legible.

Typography has been used to keep in line with the identity and branding of the Barn. The body text however has been selected primarily to allow more words per area – we’ve used a clear and contemporary slabbed typeface in a condensed form to do this. There’s a clear hierarchy of information with section headers being prominent followed by each event title  being very legible with enticing and interesting visuals followed by the detail of each event being available to be read thoroughly when an event catches the reader’s eye.

The trade off here is that the design takes longer. It’s not simply a case of fitting in text in a block next to an image – it’s more fluid and adaptable now. However, it is worth it as the result is far more interesting.

The result

The result is something more interesting than what had been before. It encourages the reader to look further and provides a strong visual representation of singular events and the Barn in general.

The first edition, the one you see here, has been very positively received. It also fits in perfectly with the Barn’s recent look.

Slider Images for (by): Eska (Jaroslav Moravec), Company of Wolves, Jack Webb (See. Imagine. Define.), Apricot Tree Wedding. All other images are copyright of their owners and can be found, when given, by viewing the printed programmes.

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