Custom Type: Utrecht City Theatre

Edenspiekermann recently developed a custom typeface and logo based on Agenda for the Utrecht City Theatre.


In their custom design Edenspiekermann strove to embody tingling and reflection. The result was a typographic language of reflected and overlapping characters where color is used to create interest but still preserves legibility.

Agenda was chosen by lead designer of Edenspiekermann’s Amsterdam office Earik Wiersma because of its association with the 1930s, the era in which the theater itself was built by the Dutch architect Dudok. Agenda was inspired by Edward Johnston’s London Transport face, which was adopted by the complete London underground network in 1933, and stands as a symbol of the time marking a break from grotesque sans typefaces as one of the early humanist sans.

The custom typeface is used throughout the identity, creative director Edo Van Dijk said the following about the faces modification, and application:

“The Agenda caps were modified in various details by Earik to accommodate the horizontal mirroring we used in the logo. We also use this custom typeface in running titles, i.e. in the programme booklet and for monthly agendas… In the logo and various titles, we use color for the upright caps, grey for the mirrored caps that were superimposed and black for the overlapping areas”


In addition a custom font was developed to easily set the headlines with their overlapping color schemes. After the type is set, the characters are broken into three parts to allow for re-coloring.

Furthermore the identity is featured on various forms of signage, posters, and environmental graphics, including a completely branded bus that will be roaming the streets of Utrecht soon. The Utrecht City Theatre’s design is an excellent example of how well designed and cohesive typography can communicate far more than literal meanings. It also shows the potential of a custom typeface in creating a unique and lasting design.

Learn more about the redesign at Edenspiekermann.

See Agenda in this month’s FontShop Staff Picks.

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  1. Goed, erg goed.

    Posted by Niko Spelbrink on Jul. 7, 2009
  2. Great system with a nerdy type justification. MO0izo. :)

    The simplicity is a very fitting approach for an organization that will likely be doing a lot of promotional materials in-house. It also doesn’t get in the way of the structure with is very wise.

    Very nice project.

    Posted by ryan on Jul. 8, 2009
  3. It looks great on paper so I went to Utrecht and saw the old logo and a lot of old stuff on the building. The posters – and the typeface on it – were fine.
    When will the implementation be finished?

    Posted by Henk Gianotten on Jul. 24, 2009

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