Terminal 5

It Might Get Loud

Our Role

Art Direction, Brand Identity, Physical Environments and Exhibitions, Print

  • Best in show There’s nothing like live music, and nobody does live music in New York like our friends at The Bowery Presents.

  • Changing their tune Managing venues like Rough Trade NYC and Webster Hall, The Bowery Presents was planning to reimagine one its largest locations: Terminal 5, or T5.

  • Departures and arrivals In advance of its renovation and re-opening, Athletics was invited to design T5’s new brand identity and wayfinding system.

  • Raw power Our challenge was to amplify the visual character of this beloved venue with a new design system, while not losing the raw energy that fans know and love.

Tall, dark, and handsome

Terminal 5, founded in 2003, is located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. One of our city’s premier venues for music, events, and performance, in 2019 alone artists ranging from Dwight Yoakam to Bikini Kill, Big Boi, James Blake, Ice Cube, and King Princess graced its stage. Loud, dark, and cavernous, T5 offers a perfect atmosphere to see high-energy shows by some of the most progressive touring artists of our time. To coincide with the renovation of its three floors and rooftop bar, The Bowery Presents invited Athletics to create a brand identity that would help Terminal 5 break through in a noisy live music category, while helping attendees navigate the notoriously-complicated space.

Crowd control

Attending concerts and events at Terminal 5 to identify pain points in wayfinding and missed opportunities for in-venue brand moments, we also researched systems at other comparable venues to assess what works, and what doesn’t. This included revisiting our branding and navigational work for Brooklyn Steel, another Bowery Presents location with a large, echoing performance space. Finally, we considered other popular attractions known for their navigability, like The Whitney and the newly-reopened MoMA, which, not unlike music venues, maintain consistent branding that flexes to showcase rotating artists and attractions.

Taking flight

Informed by our research, we built Terminal 5 a distinct visual system that is both bold and flexible, accommodating the need to incorporate rotating artists’ respective promotional assets. Inspired by the venue’s name, we looked to airport signage to inform the clean and direct aesthetic. The “T” letterform (or Super T, as we called it) is drawn from the layout of the venue itself, and forms the root of the entire system. This shape is used to house imagery, video, color, light, and texture in three-dimensional, two-dimensional, and digital formats.

Expanding the system to other geometric shapes that proportionally correspond to the Super T, we reinforce the airport reference wherever possible. Clean and confident, the new brand identity is designed to build associations between the Super T and Terminal 5, giving attendees and artists alike a new perspective on a familiar destination.