Established in 1970, the Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries in London’s Kensington Gardens. They offer a year-round free programme of exhibitions, education, live events and technological innovation, in the park and beyond.
Championing new ideas in contemporary art since 1970, the Serpentine has presented pioneering exhibitions for half a century from a wide range of emerging practitioners to the most internationally recognised artists of our time.
Independent creative studio, Hingston Studio, briefed us to refine, engineer and master their logo and typeface they had designed for the Serpentine Galleries; a bespoke, condensed typeface, evoking urgency and strength.
Within the logo, a series of interventions have been introduced by way of radial cuts to each letterform. These interventions create a sense of movement through the word mark and a non-concrete state. Its modularity reflects the fragmented – yet connected – physicality of the galleries themselves, and also that of the Serpentine lake, with its irregular geography.
The supporting typographic system consists of three typefaces leading with ‘Platanus’ – a bespoke headline typeface designed by Hingston, which takes its Latin name from the prevalent tree species found in Hyde Park (the Plane Tree).
Working alongside Hingston Studio, we created a variable logo to be used at large, small and micro scales. From there we developed the Serpentine font, Platanus, a process which involves checking the technical quality of the outlines, and establishing the right vertical metric values, spacing and kerning. The font features a series of OpenType stylistic sets, containing arrows for wayfinding and signage for the galleries. We delivered a range of file formats, enabling the Serpentine Galleries to use their new font across all media touch-points.
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