This morning’s big announcement coincides with the official reopening of the National Portrait Gallery this June: the historic space has undergone an extensive redevelopment as part of the Inspiring People project. The new identity features a new monogram, logo, typeface and color palette, all inspired by historical landmarks within the building and the Gallery’s extensive collection of portraits.
Why the review? Before its closure in March 2020, audience research showed that while there was great loyalty and warmth for the National Portrait Gallery with high levels of visitor satisfaction, it could do more to bring its collection to life for more people. . Therefore, the new designs were developed after a thorough review of the existing brand to build a stronger and more focused identity.
As part of the process, the Gallery engaged its stakeholders, members, staff and visitors, and those who had not yet walked through its doors to establish what would be required of a new and improved National Portrait Gallery. “A clear solution was to find a balance between timeless and current, a flexible brand that could fit seamlessly alongside the magnificent Grade I listed building and historic works, as well as the contemporary collection and dynamic events and entertainment programme. exhibitions,” he explains.
With this in mind, one of the central points of the brand update was inspired by the initials ‘NPG’, which can be seen throughout the Gallery building, within the metal frame of the railings, embossed on the furniture and as part of the original mosaics. Such motifs also appear in archival materials, including an original sketch by the Gallery’s first director, Sir George Scharf, who intertwined and surrounded ‘NPG’ in a workbook dated 1893. This particular sketch has since morphed in a new symbol for the Gallery by illustrator and typographer Peter Horridge, best known for his logos and crests created for some of Britain’s most iconic institutions including the Royal House and King Charles, Admiralty Arch, Liverpool Football Club and Liberty Department Store crests.
The brand is also introducing a custom logo hand-drawn by Horridge and a new contemporary typeface, NPG Serif, created by the Monotype type foundry based on references to historical sources found in and around space. These elements are combined with a fresh and modern palette, again inspired by the paint and materials of the building, the archive and its collection of portraits.
Speaking of his involvement, Edit’s Adrian Newell said: “When we started working with the National Portrait Gallery, we quickly understood the requirement of creating a brand for much more than just a gallery. We were creating a brand for a shop, a new cafe, a fine dining restaurant, a learning center, family activities and even a night out.Putting the vast, magnificent and diverse collection front and center, we have created a brand that can flex and means many different things to many people, while still I feel part of a strong, distinctive and unified whole”.
The new identity has been implemented across the Gallery’s website and digital channels, with more planned for 2023. “The new brand expresses our ambition to be a place for everyone, full of life and full of life stories,” adds the Gallery, “We are excited to share more in the coming months.”