Project / Design for a performing and visual arts organisation
Task / Corporate Branding, Logos & Promotional Materials
Client / Sutra Dance Theatre, Sutra Foundation
Year / 1986—present

Designers / Over the years, many of our designers have contributed to Sutra’s visual design; one of the earliest was Kuan Kee Onn.

I have known Ramli Ibrahim for a very long time—nearly half a lifetime by now. I recall watching him dance when he returned to Malaysia from Australia in 1983.

My first commission to design for Ramli was for ‘Adorations’ in 1986. ‘Adorations’ was his first major work, an Odissi dance performance scripted with a dialogue between the guru (Malaysian actor Mano Maniam) and his disciple (Ramli), elucidating the audience with concepts and meaning of gesture, movement, and terminology in the Indian classical dance.

It was probably the first time in Malaysia that an Indian classical dance performance attracted so many people from different ethnic backgrounds, transcending racial and cultural barriers. This has been, till today, one of Ramli’s most enduring qualities.
— William Harald-Wong

late 80s—sutra dance theatre logo

 

LO4c & 4r_Sutra Dance Theatre_2004.png

Sutra Dance Theatre was established by Ramli Ibrahim in 1983. The logo’s bold red square frames an abstract rendition of dancers in motion, positioning the company as a vital centre to nurture Malaysian performing arts.

As for the logotype 'Sutra Dance Theatre', it can be repositioned anywhere around the logo, allowing for flexibility in its application. 

I chose red as Sutra’s primary colour as a nod to its significant role in the Indian classical dance, namely the Alta red dye applied on the fingers and feet of an Indian Classical dancer.

Lips are painted bright red to emphasise smiles, pouts, and other lip motions. The tips of the fingers and toes are coloured red to help the audience see the hand gestures and feet. Red eventually became an ‘iconic’ or identifying element closely associated with Ramli and the dance company.
— William Harald-Wong

LATE 80S TO 2006—VISUAL IDENTITY

 

 Sutra Dance Theatre media folder, front (left) and back (right)

Sutra Dance Theatre media folder, front (left) and back (right)

whwWeb_Sutra_First Identity_Folder_open (4886).jpg
 Sutra Dance Theatre letterhead

Sutra Dance Theatre letterhead


 Poster for  Contes d’été, Sommer Märchen   (Summer Tales) , a work under  Sutra’s Under the Stars 2003  series. During this early period, some high chroma compositions were explored.

Poster for Contes d’été, Sommer Märchen (Summer Tales), a work under Sutra’s Under the Stars 2003 series. During this early period, some high chroma compositions were explored.


2007—SUTRA FOUNDATION logo

LO4c_Sutra Foundation_2017.png

Sutra Foundation, established in 2007, is bequeathed to Malaysia by Ramli Ibrahim. The Foundation strives to develop the breadth and depth of Malaysian performing and visual arts by stimulating the creative spirit of cross-cultural Malaysia.


2007—SUTRA DANCE THEATRE (REVISED LOGOTYPE)

Following the establishment of Sutra Foundation, the typeface for Sutra Dance Theatre was revised to conform to it. 

LO4c_Sutra Dance Theatre_hori_2004.png

Under Sutra Foundation, Sutra Dance Theatre’s activities at the Sutra House include performances held at its outdoor Amphi-Sutra, exhibitions at Sutra Gallery, and teaching sessions at the Sutra Academy. To highlight this, a master logo incorporating these physical spaces was created. 

 

LO4c_Sutra Corporate Signature.png

2014—SUTRA DANCE THEATRE (NEW LOGO)

Ten years on, Sutra Dance Theatre’s logo was simplified as it often appears together with the Sutra Foundation logo. Still based on the concept of dancers in motion, the symbol is near, but not quite symmetrical—it is spontaneous, moving towards achieving balance, and fringed with creative tension.

 

LO4c & 4r_Sutra Dance Theatre_2014.png

SUTRA’s new IDENTITY 2003

Almost every promotional material for Indian classical dance at the time featured fanciful typefaces with flourishes, sometimes using a Roman typeface that mimics an Indian script.

I chose the simplicity and timelessness of Helvetica for Sutra’s identity refresh, done in conjunction with ‘Sutrarasa’, the 6th Sutra Festival. This was a radical departure from the norm.
— William Harald-Wong

2003 saw a new direction for Sutra’s visual brand identity. Its posters and collaterals were now based on a single powerful photo image concept, taken mostly by Sivarajah Natarajan—a departure from its previous practice of using whatever available images. This approach to image-making (as is done internationally) is still in use today* even though the application of Helvetica as a primary font was eventually discontinued, thus allowing designers to choose display typefaces that best suited each performance's concept.

*not all posters and collaterals were designed by our studio—many were created by Sutra’s in-house team or freelance designers.

 

whwWeb_Sutra_Sutrarasa_Poster.jpg
 Programme book, back cover (left), and Ramli on the front cover (right). 

Programme book, back cover (left), and Ramli on the front cover (right). 

 Accordion-fold leaflet.

Accordion-fold leaflet.

whwWeb_Sutra_Sutrarasa_Leaflet (back)_border.jpg
 Invitation card for the 6th Sutra Festival, Sutrarasa (closed).

Invitation card for the 6th Sutra Festival, Sutrarasa (closed).

 Invitation card for the 6th Sutra Festival,  Sutrarasa  (open). 

Invitation card for the 6th Sutra Festival, Sutrarasa (open). 


THE EARLY YEARS—FULLY INTEGRATED IDENTITY

Before e-tickets and e-invites were introduced, Sutra Festivals often employed a complex series of colour-coded tickets and invitation cards as part of its identity. 
 

 Colour-coded tickets and invitation cards for the 4th Sutra Festival,  Restu  (1995).

Colour-coded tickets and invitation cards for the 4th Sutra Festival, Restu (1995).


SELECTED POSTERS (1997—CURRENT)

In chronological order

Posters for Sutra's performances often contain plenty of information as well as sponsors' logos. Some of our posters for Sutra are as follow, arranged in chronological order. 

whwWeb_Sutra_Poster_Unravelling the Maya (C31).jpg
whwWeb_Sutra_Poster_Siddhartha.jpg
whwWeb_Sutra_Poster_Rasa Unmasked_EDT.png
whwWeb_Sutra_Alarippu Postcard_even colour.jpg
PORT_hires_Sutra_Into the Centre.jpg
whwWeb_Sutra_Poster_Tarikan_pptres.jpg
PORT_hires_BC_Leaflet_Stung & Millennarium_closed (A5)_grey bkgd.jpg
whwWeb_Sutra_River Sutra_Poster.jpg
whwWeb_Sutra_Krishna_Poster.jpg

 

 

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