Heatherwick adopts “easy-to-draw” logo for its boring buildings movement

The Humanise logo by Uncommon is designed to be easy to sketch in reference to collective action.

6 November 2023

London-based Uncommon Studio has given a face to the ongoing campaign Heatherwick Studio is waging against dull buildings. The identity features a simple eye logo and a logotype – both are variable and appear in different kinds of handwriting across the entire identity, including Thomas Heatherwick’s own.

Heatherwick announced Humanise last month. It consisted of a report, carried out by the architectural firm, revealing that boring architecture can have a negative impact on people’s mental health and the climate emergency. The Boring Building Index was launched as a solution, asking people across the globe to upload pictures of buildings “that depress them”.

“The building could be too flat, plain, shiny, anonymous, monotonous or serious. It can be any building, anywhere,” Uncommon explains (the design studio came up with the concept for the index, alongside the identity). After a period of six months, the pictures will be analysed by “an independent team at a top university” and the results will be used to open conversations with developers, designers, politicians and planners.


Uncommon: Humanise by Heatherwick Studio (Copyright © Uncommon, 2023)

Uncommon’s identity will be the new face of Heatherwick’s architectural “movement”. Colour is used sparingly; the studio wanted to use a beige canvas as a foundation, and layer scribbles and doodles over the top to suggest a disruptive act, tapping into some of the aesthetic conventions surrounding activist causes.

According to Uncommon, Thomas Heatherwick drew the icon first and his handwriting leads the design. A variety of people across the creative team then inputted their own handwriting for the logo. The studio adds that the logo links closely to the DIY concept at the heart of the index. “Having a logo that anyone can render in their own handwriting represents how this fight is one of a collective.” Readers can submit their own building to the index here.

GalleryUncommon: Humanise by Heatherwick Studio (Copyright © Uncommon, 2023)

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Uncommon: Humanise by Heatherwick Studio (Copyright © Uncommon, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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