When creating a brand, there’s many needs that must be met. It has to be eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, but easy to digest and even easier to be recognised. When rebranding — going against the pre-existing image inside the viewer’s minds — this requires an even bigger transformation. For the National Portrait Gallery, a rebrand consists of a transformative and fresh visual identity that mirrors its place within society to tell the true, authentic stories of Britain’s past, present and future through portraits and paintings.
As a collective hub of art and history, the National Portrait Gallery’s rebrand brings together a mix of creatives, from creative designers to brand strategists, that researched and collected motifs scattered throughout the Gallery’s building. Finding inspiration in the crevices and designs was the catalyst for the National Portrait Gallery’s new monogram, logotype, typeface and colour palette, all sourced from the swirling history and reference points within the Gallery’s collection of art and portraits.
The bespoke logo was hand-crafted by Peter Horridge, in addition to a contemporary new typeface titled NPG Serif, influenced by the historic fonts throughout the Gallery. With the logo and typeface, the Gallery is able to adapt to a modern look while still honouring the history that is homed within. In particular, the Gallery’s rebrand consists of a new and fresh colour palate, swatched from the colours within the building and juxtaposed against one another to create a drastic, bold, and stunning visual representation of the Gallery.
Since its founding in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery has been the home of Britain’s greats. Acting as a time capsule, the Gallery serves as a storyteller of Britain using art to explore the stories of global icons, British heroes, and the like, bringing history to us as a way to better understand those that shaped the country. The rebrand is just one way the National Portrait Gallery is marking a new chapter in its history as it continues to showcase some of the world’s greatest and most exciting new artists, in addition to being the home to the world’s largest collection of portraits.
The National Portrait Gallery’s new brand will be rolled out in the run up to reopening on 22 June 2023 , kick-starting the promotion of its first year of major exhibitions: Yevonde: Life and Colour (22 June – 15 October 2023); Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm (28 June – 1 October 2023); David Hockney: Drawing from Life (2 November 2023 – 21 January 2024); Taylor Wessing Photo Prize (9 November 2023 – 25 February 2024); The Time is Always Now: Black Artists Reimagine Representation (22 February – 19 May 2024); and Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In (21 March – 30 June 2024).
For more information on the National Portrait Gallery’s rebranding and upcoming exhibits, visit npg.org.uk.
words. Kelsey Barnes
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