Passionate creators, appropriate branding

The National Theater (HNT) is a fuse of the Royal Theater, National Play Theater and Theater at Spui. This initiative is new to the Dutch theater scene where housing and programs come together in one organization. It offers unique possibilities for innovation. HNT is determined to realize that innovation, both in their program as through their digital channels.

After an extensive pitch path, HNT chose Grrr as their partner for the new strategy including branding, campaigning and digital integrations. HNT was in an important strategic phase: in the midst of a fuse, a new artistic leader, and above all; a new brand that needed to be built up.


Grrr understands the importance of relevant communication with (potential) visitors as no other. Their experience and focus on branding and digitalization perfectly fits our vision and challenges.

Elke Smelt, Head of Marketing & Communication, HNT
News in the theater

Refreshing: socially involved in the HNT manner

Artistic director Eric de Vroedt is recognized internationally as a precursor of a new generation of theater makers. The inspired foreman draws attention with a fresh approach where he manages to relate theater and the audience. How? By producing pieces that are currently relevant (at hand) and by responding to the current media usage. What does Netflix mean in theater and how up-to-date can a theater play be?

Our strategy suited that philosophy. We present the theater programme as CNN presents news: with elements that emphasize urgency and by using the sense of freshness to show the link with topicality.

Case of National Theatre design and branding by Grrr
Branding The Nationale Theater HNT

We use more than merely practical information in the copy. If there is a play about corruption, we will use current headlines from the news about that topic.

Josephine Cambier, Designer, Grrr

Breaking news & the center of debate

Movement and urgency provide the basis for the new branding. Eric de Vroedt presents the organization as a living room of the citizens of The Hague. A place where you want to be on special evenings like Christmas and New Years Eve but also a place where you can discuss current issues. Up-to-date and socially involved: it is all about these two key concepts.


Branding initiated by Grrr always starts with a story. For HNT, the story is very clear: a socially involved platform and programme in the middle of The Hague’s society, both literally and figuratively. A style focused on topicality and engagement suits that story. Recognizable elements in the visual identity are the horizontal bars, the so-called streamers. They are inspired by the design of TV news shows and evoke a feeling of urgency. We combine different colours, fonts and font sizes to create a dynamic composition. Texts are cut both left and right to increase the sense of motion.

Grrr was convincing during the entire pitch. They were able to catch the apparent whirlwind of expectations, assignments and unspoken opinions associated with a fusion, into one national institute. They created the image of an theater organization in the midst of society, open to topicality and rooted in tradition.

Cees Debets, Programme Director, HNT
Grrr maakte voor Het Nationale Theater (HNT) branding geinspireerd op de presentatie van CNN

On the shoulder of giants

Together, The National Theater, the Royal Theater, the National Play Theater, NTjong and Theater at Spui now form a powerful theater organization; the largest traveling theater group in the Netherlands. The organization has multiple halls in The Hague and an open and vibrant community house for a wide audience.

National Theatre Fusion

The National Theater could become a national platform where national themes can be reflected. Quite similar to the National Theater in England.

Eric de Vroedt, HNT
Entrace ticket national theatere designed by Grrr
Brochure National Theatre
National Theater (HNT) graphic design by Grrr
National Theatre (HNT) programme, graphic design by Grrr

Strategy & Stakeholders

Grrr likes to think along in a broad sense and has great experience in getting various parties involved in creative processes. We applied the same method here. In order to get a well understanding of the people and the needs of the organization, we started with having conversations: from the porter to the education department. This keeps the implementation of our research practical.


National Theatre Amsterdam Tram


The campaign also reflects the quirky character of HNT. We designed a unique HNT tram that we used for the official opening too. A suitable  campaign instrument in the city where once the first tram of the Netherlands drove. We also created a poster campaign in which we connect topicality to the plays performed at the moment.

National Theatre abri campaign The Hague
National Theater knowledge sharing peppered

A digital benchmark for the theater world

Behind the scenes, we work hard on something special. In collaboration with Peppered, a theater marketing software tool, we set HNT up as a test case for a new version of this marketing platform. Peppered is specifically developed for theaters and other cultural stages, and offers tools and insights for marketers. We build a platform that includes more than just HNT; we created a digital platform where all stages in the Netherlands can make use of. As a result, the entire cultural sector benefits from this investment, and, a large institute supports the little ones at the same time. At Grrr we consider it important to share our knowledge and experience. This collaboration fits that vision.