Design agency SomeOne has rebranded the UK’s House of Commons – its first visual identity redesign in ten years, released mere days into new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s time in office, when the eyes of the world are on the British Parliament. Though the clarity of its communication should always be paramount, accessibility and understanding of its messaging, in the current climate, couldn’t be more vital.
SomeOne’s London team says the rebrand was driven by the organisation’s “long-term goal to support a thriving parliamentary democracy and comes at a time when there is an amplified need to communicate the work of the House in a clear, accessible way.” The design agency also rebranded the UK Parliament last year to be more coherent.
The previous rebrand was carried out in 2009, with a traditional outlook focused on printed publications and stationery, and had become “inefficient”. This brand refresh aims to broaden that scope by considering digital applications of the branding, and well as in signage, commercial outlets and procedural documents.
One subtle but important change that SomeOne made was to change the colour system, changing the House of Commons’ core green to improve the contrast between different elements and make it more legible in different formats.
Another was the new typeface, National, and in turn the new word marque, again designed with digital in mind, so that it would work at all sizes, and on all surfaces. The typeface is contemporary and friendly, with legibility and openness favoured over formality or typically bureaucratic aesthetics.
Since 1967, the logo has been a crowned portcullis (a medieval latticed gate) and while this archaic symbol has remained, the SomeOne team has created a trio of digitally focused versions of the logo to work at any scale. The agency has also produced a set of illustrations to add to communications with the aim of increasing the aforementioned sense of accessibility and approachability.
“More traditional views of branding would have us believe we only need to rubberstamp a logo on things,” says SomeOne’s Beth Baines. “The House of Commons has embraced a far more progressive approach in the development of a full suite of assets and behaviours. This has made it a more complex project, but a better and more long-lasting outcome.”