Strengthening messages to the audience a rebrand is

Strengthening and improving the
identity of a venue is a difficult task when people are already aware of its
previous identity. The image often needs a modification when the visuals are
disrupted by lack of communication or the materials used for the brand no
longer have anything in common with one another. When the heart of the brand
becomes lost and chaotic with incoherent messages to the audience a rebrand is
needed with the importance of the venues identity history being influenced in its


Southbank Centre and Tate have both undergone rebrands by graphic design
company North. The importance of altering a brands identity rather than
changing the whole design is clear within their work. Care and attention is
given to the previous identity before the change is undergone. ‘The whole process
has to be slow, so that the clients can learn about the new image’ stated (Wrona, 2015). It is important when undergoing
a new identity that the solution is exceptional and imaginative with it reflecting
the essence of the venue. The Identity created for Printworks was slightly different
in the way that a whole new branding needed to be created to reflect the now
arts venue, however its previous identity, a print shop is still influenced
within its name, interior and visuals so that its former use is valued and
considered. Each change has been thought out by the design studio Only, to
allow for the old purpose of the space to still be recognizable.


North redesigned
the visual identity for London’s Southbank Centre last year, this involved a
new logo, a flip on its typography as well as improved framework. These all
distinguish the style of the venue giving it a more impressive and distinctive
design. ‘The new identity clearly, confidently and consistently
communicates Southbank Centre’ explains Sean Perkins as cited by
(Brewer, 2017) This was then applied
to other elements of the brand, including its signage, posters, tickets and
website. The Centre is known for its magnificent music and events which is
reflected within the new bold design.

design replaces that of Wolf Olins, which became weak and confusing because of
its complicity. It was hard to maintain and keep visually refreshing and after
being around for ten years, the once flexible design was no longer working and required
change, design had developed and become more established in this time. The
previous all caps, sans-serif logotype combined with geometrical patterns, were
swapped in exchange to a serif typeface. 
The font ‘Noe Display, created by type foundry Schick Toikka’ (Dawood, 2017),
was customized to have an identifiable typographic tone which was created in
response to the Centre’s iconic building. The typeface has been used for
exhibitions and galleries to communicate the events.

new wordmark is very elegant and prominent with carved aesthetics and beautiful
moments which are shown around the ‘T’ joining the letter before it, helping to
solve any kerning issues, which may have appeared.  Additionally, ‘a serif black logotype set
against a yellow background’ explains (Dawood, 2017) identifies the limits of
the centers bodily site as well as allowing it to stand out in the national
sector. The Centre is already claiming the colour yellow as its own, so that not
only will yellow be associated with joy, happiness and energy but also the Southbank
Centre too.

Southbank Centre
posters. (North, 2017)

Figure 1

in figure 1 are the posters and billboards designed for the Centre. These have
a cool and modern vibe with brave clashes of colour which are combined with
text and image. The majority of the typography is the same size as the logo,
which in some designs I think unfortunately damages the composition.  As a result, the supporting text and
information provided on the posters is of the same font size as the venues name
making ‘Southbank Centre’ become a part of the sentence, rather than something
which supports it.


The Southbank
Centre’s program design is similar to that of a magazine. “like a title of a
magazine – everything else is the weekly, monthly features and highlights,
the content,” which was described by Sean Perkins  cited by (Lowe, 2017). Its content
allows each of the events to be individually designed in this similar way. “The
logotype design and serif font choice was inspired by Southbank Centre’s brutalist
architecture and the original Festival of Britain identity,” explains North’s
Charlie De Grussa cited at (,
Using a contrastable font style for the venues logotype creates an identifiable
typographic quality and a distinguishable reference to the Centres building. The
change that the Centre has under gone is positive, marking a new era and
allowing the chosen imagery to have its own voice.  The supporting logo does this, contrasting the
outshining complicity of the previous design. 
However, because of this, some critics may disagree and think that it is
dull and restrictive in comparison.


Re designing the visual identity for Tate, North
similarly simplified the original design so that all four of its galleries as
well as the digital space all had the same dot logo.  ‘The number of dots has been reduced from
3,000 to 340’ as specified in (Dawood, 2017) This has
now made a more purposeful design which allows it to become adaptable within a
variety of medias. “We wanted to create one logo which was still recognisably
Tate but could be used more dynamically and exist more effectively in the
digital world,” explains Stephen Gilmore cited at (, 2018) All
of the galleries can then have a clear and distinguishable identity of which
can be communicated successfully to its audience. A whole new redesign was not
needed with the original just requiring improvement.


Figure 2

Tate animated Logo.
(North, 2016)

the gallery names from the main logo body and using the same typeface allows
the design to be adjustable for the use in all four galleries. Clear
communication for the exhibitions taking place are used within printed posters.
The name of the gallery is placed at the top with dates positioned below in a
smaller type size. Animated versions of the logo have also been created by
North adding personality and a playfulness to the identity, a still image of
this is shown in figure 2. The dots which make up the logo float across the screen
before meeting with one another to form the word Tate, this gives the sense of
community and the idea of people emerging together.


North have
carried the new identity so that it can be refreshed every two years by various
artists. Its current typeface has stayed the same with ‘Tate pro’ only being
used in all caps for headlines and two weights. Stephen Gilmore from North
states that ‘At North, we have an instinctive leaning towards modernity and
future-facing design’ (Gilmore, 2016). The identities in which North designed
have the correct balance on the truth of the past as well as its importance of the
present day. Norths approach to a re brand is clear to be improve the existing
rather than start over. It is a problematic thing to come up with a new focus for
a brand that already has a distinctive character which is deep within the DNA
of its identity. Its direction of not dismissing the original designs of others
and improving them to work successfully within the society of today allows
North to look into the history of the brand and respect its past, the strength
of an identity is often found when moving back to when the brand was at its


For both the Southbank Centre
and the Tate, North altered the current identity, improving and developing what
Olins had previously created and simplified the designs in
which had become over complicated over the years. Norths designer Jeremy
Coysten clarified that “for us to propose getting
rid of the identity system entirely would be irresponsible and a selfish act as
designers” (aRaydesign Limited, 2018) It is clearly shown within the new visual identities in
which they have created that they have been highly considerate to the previous
designs and elements are still visible. The designs were hard to maintain and
complex to expand and rather than
constantly adding to the previous designs which weren’t working they needed a
whole new think and fresh look at from a new designer.


Without scrapping the whole idea North have gone back and
looked at where the identity had gone wrong and become confusing, in both cases
they needed to be minimalized. Both of the venues identities needed to be adaptable
for multiple events this is why the elegant legible all caps typefaces work
successfully within their designs. Relevant imagery is used to define the
events on posters and online communications giving the opportunity for each
event to be expressed and portrayed correctly and clearly.


Using the control of simplicity and truth, Only, a Leeds
based graphic design studio have produced purposeful ideas which have the power
to communicate and stand out for ‘London’s major art venue, Printworks’ (Brewer,2017).
Having the ability to connect with
people and understand what they would want within a brand is a powerful and fundamental
aspect that the studio is able to offer. Similarly, to North, Only have taken inspiration
from the history of Printworks which is now a licensed venue and influenced
within their designs.


Only were
appointed to produce the identity for the venue which needed to have a bold and
adjustable design which could be used for the promotion of diverse events. This
is similar to that for the Tate which had to be adaptable to work for all
venues as well as the aspect of history which both designers have used to
create successful designs. Elements from the venues history of being ‘the
largest printing facility in Europe’ as stated by
Only (, 2018). This is still visible within the space with it containing original features like the
old printing machines which are now used in chill out areas and bars. By
leaving them in their original positions creates an industrial mood as well as maintaining
the heritage of the building.


As well as
looking at the history of the building itself Only also looked into the history of the printing technique of the
newspapers in which would have been printed at the facility. With the aim to
create a remarkable and exciting identity for the new arts venue. ‘We looked to historic newspaper design and the attention-grabbing
headlines deployed prominently and confidently across front pages’ (, 2018) these headlines became the heart of the identity. The pace and
constant movement of the printing techniques, which would have been used in the
construction of the newspapers and the mistakes and mess of the press, would
have performed an important part. A sense of movement has been used to capture the
speed of the press within this design.


Printworks logo. (Only, 2017)

Figure 3

3 shows the powerful wordmark that was created for Printworks. Wrapping the name
around a cylinder simulates the giant rollers
of the printing press. ‘The identity is set in Commercial Type’s Druk typeface’
(Brewer, 2017) Druk’s vast choice of weights and styles were perfect for the venues mixed series of
events. Covering type around cylinders allowed Only to produce countless repetitions
of the logotype.


The rollers mark
signifies the side profile of two print rollers with this being used only in
small applications. The method and concept that Only have come up with seems
like the obvious choice of design, with a venue called Printworks which used to
be a print facility having a print connected logo. With wrapping the name
around a cylinder seeming cliché, with it being a lengthy word the technique
works incredibly well as it emphasizes the logo design. Instantly you are aware
that this logo is for a print shop which may get people confused as to what the
venue is for.


The applications
for the Printworks start to make the venue seem more like a music and
entertainment venue with cool and bold design decisions made. With not all the
typography being wrapped around the cylinder allows us to appreciate the design
more and not get uninterested. The overall design is ingenious and clever with
an amazing balance between the culture and history of the venue as well as it creating
a great unique personality for the Printworks.


Although Printworks
didn’t have a previous identity as an arts venue, the new identity created had
to include the remarkable elements from when the building was a print facility these
were carefully considered by Only just like North were when they were re
thinking the designs that Wollf Olins had previously created. ‘It’s vital to
put your ego to one side and not dismiss designs created by others’
explains Stephen Gilmore (Gilmore, 2016) Both designs were thoughtful to the
history of the venues identity and keen to embrace this within their designs.


North and Only
have explored the visual identity of a space by using its design history to
influence their choices. Creating designs which were unique and effective is
what makes them successful. ‘A logo cannot survive unless it is designed with
the utmost simplicity and restraint’ stated Paul Rand (Roberts, 2015) All three
venues needed adaptable designs that could work for more than one event, therefore
keeping it simple was the vital. The simplicity translates well across all
mediums, working effectively in print, websites and within the venue itself.  North and Only stayed truthful to the venues
style incorporating the architectural elements into their designs as well as it
influencing the type. Use of only one or two typefaces in a variety of sizes
allows them to exaggerate key information that may get overlooked. Every detail
has been well considered and has a purpose, this way nothing falls into the
background or is hidden by a complex design which may distract the audience
from key elements.