Creating Brands That Capture a Sense of Place

Shaping Locations: A Branding Guide for Venues

Many venue brands are neither here nor there. Often generic or corporate in appearance, they could be just about anything, anywhere. Simply swap in a new font or color scheme, and voilà, the branding is done. The most iconic establishments and storied destinations, however, are made for the people. They are built on customization, craft and character that cannot be easily replicated. Although many venues are intended to serve the masses, your brand should not look or feel mass produced. Your venue must be known for its unique and authentic identity to maintain long-lasting appeal. People are drawn to destinations that define the culture rather than reflect trends. Is it the vibe, the ambiance or the atmosphere that attracts audiences? Maybe it is a combination of these things, but one thing is certain, you can create a compelling sense of place through branding. Good venue brands have an instantly recognizable look and an unmistakable feel. They are often the setting of famed stories among friends or the go-to spot for well-informed visitors. For a venue to be memorable, it must become a getaway, a hideout or an oasis where people want to escape for a while. But immersive environments do not happen by accident. There is a lot of craft and art involved in keeping people engaged and interested within a space. This requires a cohesive and consistent visual system, a comprehensive brand in other words, to be applied at every touchpoint. All of the visual elements must work in concert to create an unforgettable venue. When the brand is unified, the experience is elevated. Through artful branding, it is possible to transform ordinary venues into iconic destinations that energize whole communities. 

Below are a couple of examples of venue brands that are helping shape the future of organizations. 


Set the Stage for Success with a High-Performing Brand  

Gogue Performing Arts Center

The Gouge Performing Arts Center at Auburn University (GPAC) is the “cultural gateway” to campus. This prominent community venue showcases the exceptional talents of professional dancers, actors and musicians and empowers the newest generation of creative voices. During the design phase of the center, Tatum Design was commissioned by a special, institutional task force to envision the brand experience within the future space. Through much exploration, our firm developed a contemporary brand that embodies artistic performances of every kind. The brand gracefully takes the shape of a lower-case “g.” It represents a dancer flying through the air, a singer enraptured in song and an actor transforming into character. It is a musical note, a hand-carved scroll of a stringed instrument and a gratified entertainer taking a humble bow. This expressive symbol is complimented by an ensemble of vibrant colors. Each element of the brand builds anticipation and excitement. Unlike many performing arts brands, GPAC feels open and inviting. Diverse groups of people actually want to fill the space and experience the performances because the brand fosters a creative environment where all types of expression, from hip hop to opera, are equally celebrated. The strategic application of the brand throughout the center is designed to transport audiences to an immersive, interactive world dedicated to the arts. The GPAC brand sets the stage for world-class entertainment and puts on a striking performance long before the curtain opens.

The GPAC brand celebrates the enjoyment of art. It is lively and expressive without being elitist or exclusive like so many performing arts venues. For this reason, it is easy to fill the seats.


Stay Ahead of the Game with a Stronger Position 

Protective Stadium 

Protective Life Stadium is a future multi use, open air stadium in the Uptown district of Birmingham, Alabama. At the heart of a rising neighborhood, where several entertainment venues converge, it will be a beacon for the continued revitalization of the city. Before the historic groundbreaking, Tatum Design was drafted on behalf of Protective Life to envision a comprehensive brand for the stadium. This high profile project occurred in an intensely political environment, so it was a special challenge to build a shared sense of purpose. The Tatum Design team successfully crafted a single, proud identity that merged the history of the Iron City with its long tradition of sports. The Protective Life Stadium brand honors this “House of Iron” theme and forges an enduring relationship between the new venue brand and the well-established naming sponsor brand, through colors, fonts and shapes. The visual style was actively embedded throughout stadium, and unique opportunities were unearthed to bring the brand to life within the space. The brand pays tribute to the hard-earned heritage that shaped Birmingham’s unshakeable spirit, while fortifying a position of strength and an elevated expectation for the venue. It is immediately recognizable in every visual context with consistent implementation across the entire stadium. This cohesion makes a winning first impression and creates a competitive edge over other venues. True to its name, the House of Iron celebrates the tenacity, diversity and unity of Birmingham through a global brand that is accessible to all. It is designed to strengthen the bond between residents and champion a level playing field for everyone. The brand embodies a spirit of optimism for the city of Birmingham and positions Protective Stadium as a catalyst for the community. 

The Protective Stadium brand forges a love of Birmingham with a passion for sports. This seamless connection between the purpose of the venue and the people who visit it is a definite win.