Jannuzzi Smith rebrands Cinémathèque suisse

Jannuzzi Smith have been commissioned to provide branding and communications strategy for Cinémathèque suisse: the official Swiss archive of film and the moving image – effectively the country’s audiovisual memory. It was established in 1943 and now holds one of the world’s largest cinematic archives, including over 85,000 films, 500,000 posters and 2.5 million photos of disparate, multinational origin. The project involves restructuring and redefining the presentation of the organisation, with a view to enabling a fuller, richer and more open exposition of its resources in a range of media – from printed to on-line and on-site communication.

Cinémathèque suisse – Erni/Geiser
Cinémathèque suisse was established in 1948 in Lausanne on the ashes of a failed attempt to set up an archive for film in Basel. The inaugural invitation was created by the Swiss master painter and illustrator Hans Erni. Roger-Virgile Geiser, and later Werner Jeker, Lausanne-based graphic designers, were later tasked with developing Cinémathèque suisse’s first logotype, perhaps based on Erni’s initial illustration.
Cinémathèque suisse old logo
In successive stages the logotype evolved but lost some of Roger-Virgile Geiser’s original features (primarily the ‘S’ at its center). This later elaboration of the logo proved problematic when used in some new media applications.
Cinémathèque suisse logo
With new modern buildings in Penthaz and the acquisition of the historic cinema Capitole in Lausanne Cinémathèque suisse has entered a new phase of its existence with an increase focus on its public-facing activities. To simply step back in time and to restore the original design by Werner Jeker was considered inappropriate. Jannuzzi Smith therefore created a monogram with two positive ‘C’s forming a negative ‘S’ – Cinémathèque suisse – a new mark but still reminiscent of Erni and Jeker’s original visual play.
Cinémathèque suisse
Cinémathèque suisse is an institution funded by the Swiss Confederation and has an obligation to communicate in the four Swiss official languages. With the new logotype Jannuzzi Smith abandon the formula of a straight translation opting to maintain the French version as the core brand. When required a “descriptor” in five languages indicating the main purpose of the institution can be combined with the logotype.