We helped to create an arresting, segmented type system for London’s Serpentine Galleries, that reflects the nearby lake and the twin venues.
The Serpentine Galleries are a pair of contemporary art galleries in London’s Kensington Gardens. Opened in 1970, they offer a year-round free programme of exhibitions, education and live events and have staged pioneering exhibitions by exciting emerging talent as well as the most internationally recognised artists of our time.
Creative agency Hingston Studio asked us to refine, engineer and master the logo and typeface they’d already designed for the Serpentine Galleries.
“Commissioned by the Serpentine in 2019, ahead of the galleries’ 50th anniversary – the brief was to create a digital first identity that would serve its next ten year chapter. As part of the identity we designed a custom typeface, ‘Platanus'. The bespoke font forms a central component of the identity system, a system that going forward would be largely managed by the in-house teams within the organisation. It was an overarching imperative that this would feel crafted in execution and robust in its application across all platforms – both print and digital. We worked closely with F37 on the optimisation and coding of the typeface, to deliver an exceptional final product. Over the years we have collaborated with F37 on a number of projects. Their technical expertise, combined with an innate understanding of the craft, makes them invaluable. They are without doubt, an established long term partner. ”
Tom Hingston — Founder, Tom Hingston Studio
The logo wordmark features radial cuts to each letterform to create a sense of movement and fluidity. Its modular form reflects the separate yet complementary nature of the galleries, as well as the irregular geography of the Serpentine lake.
The supporting typographic system consists of three typefaces, with the Hingston-designed headline font Platanus taking the lead. Platanus is the Latin name for the Plane Tree, which is abundant in Hyde Park.
Working alongside Hingston Studio, we created a variable logo for large, small and micro sizes. From there we developed Platanus, a process that involved 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 gallery signage. We also delivered a range of file formats, so the Serpentine Galleries can use their new font across all media.
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