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North: Barbican identity

Work / Graphic Design

Graphic Design: North produce great new identity for arts behemoth The Barbican

Sometimes great design work is the result of a client commissioning a new studio to work with, but at others it’s about longstanding collaborators refreshing their approach in tandem. This latter situation applies with North’s new identity for The Barbican arts centre in London, with whom the agency has worked for a decade.

They used their insight into how the organisation works to identify a problem – namely that “communications tended to focus on smaller art form specific stories and art form sub brands with less emphasis on the bigger story” – and set about solving it in style.

The resulting identity aims to unify this eclectic, sprawling and sometimes confusing organisation under a bold, bright yet familiar single look and feel.

As the client explaned: "The Barbican’s proposition needed to be a core message that demonstrates that the Barbican is something in its own right, not a shell for individual art forms, an expression of the ‘whole’ as opposed to letting audiences add up the sum of the parts they know, a basis on which to build messages for and about the whole.

“Recognising the strengths that exist within the original identity – the futura font, the logo – the new visual identity deconstructs the logo into its two component parts – the ‘word mark’ and the ‘carrier’ within which the word mark is contained. This allows for a dynamic and flexible identity, but one with a strong, bold and unifying visual language.”

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North: Barbican identity