North has worked with the Southbank Centre in-house design team to redesign the institution’s visual identity, encompassing a new logotype, design framework and typographic expression. Applied to all aspects of the brand, from signage to tickets, posters and the website, the new graphic identity hopes to become a “masthead” for the brand, which North says had become “overly complex to apply” and “inconsistent”.
“The new identity clearly, confidently and consistently communicates ‘Southbank Centre’ like a title of a magazine – everything else is the weekly, monthly features and highlights, the content,” describes North’s founding partner Sean Perkins.
Southbank Centre wanted an “impactful and distinctive” new visual language for the institution, Europe’s largest culture and arts centre, which is currently undergoing a major renovation. The rebrand uses yellow as the core colour to identify the boundaries of the centre’s physical site, while also helping it stand out in the cultural sector. A customised version of the Noe Display font by type foundry Schick Toikka, a “modern, high-contrast serif font”, was chosen in order to create “an ownable, recognisable typographic tone of voice” and to visually reference the centre’s iconic building.
“The logotype design and serif font choice was inspired by Southbank Centre’s brutalist architecture and the original Festival of Britain identity,” says North’s Charlie De Grussa. “This visual language reference runs throughout the identity applications, typography and wayfinding elements.”
North comments on the previous branding by Wolff Olins that “a number of challenges had arisen in identifying that the Southbank Centre brand was the ‘parent’ brand across the site,” and that a lack of guidelines had led to “a weak and confusing visual language in online and offline communications and across the physical site”.
The new design framework, North says, will allow individual events at the centre to be “more freely expressed”.
North will also be working with Southbank Centre on materials for the reopening of the Hayward Gallery in January 2018, as the rebrand rolls out over the next six months.