News / Graphic Design

The Guardian’s Chris Clarke on designing an expressive identity for agency Grand Matter

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Deputy creative director of The Guardian Chris Clarke has designed the identity for new London-based creative agency Grand Matter. Founded by illustrator Ciara Phelan with producer Dorcas Brown, the agency launches with the likes of Owen Gildersleeve, Alec Doherty, Saskia Pomeroy, Joe Cruz and Toby Triumph on its roster.

The identity by Chris, working together with designer Ben Longden, aims to convey the agency’s approach to sourcing creatives, for which he felt an affinity. “Being in this industry I want to work for a company I believe in, and to be honest the ‘normal’ agency is very different now. Grand Matter has this bond with the artists it represents and the community that is commissioning them, and is more of a catalyst or mediator between the two. A club that people want to be part of. The branding grew from there really.”

Building on the name, Chris developed an identity he felt represented both words, and both sides of the company’s story. “‘Grand’ is this big, awe-inspiring word that shows aspiration and growth, while ‘matter’ is a flat object, it’s substance. So we used a combination of typefaces: the logo is set in Basis Grotesque by Colophon, an authoritative, humanist typeface, and the supporting one – used for the strapline – is Caslon, which is elegant and classic. Both are British. I think the two work quite harmoniously. Overall we wanted it to feel trustworthy and inspiring with some playfulness, but not too silly or jovial, and it was important not to overshadow the artists’ work as well. It had to be a platform to celebrate it.”

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity

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Chris Clarke: Grand Matter identity