The National Archives

Visual brand evolution for The National Archives. In collaboration with their marketing team we developed a more flexible yet robust creative system within their existing visual identity.

 

The current visual brand was launched pre-Covid in 2019. Communications requirements globally have of course evolved since then, and The National Archives’ visual materials were no exception. We worked with their stakeholders to analyse recent communications and to assess varied audiences’ needs, so as to define a core set of principles for the visual elements. 

 

The National Archives’ visual identity is centred around a distinctive grid formation which appropriately takes its inspiration from archiving and filing systems. Originally chosen for its flexibility it had become repetitive, largely due to constrictive templates. We explored the function of the grid in practice, and have expanded how it works alongside an extended colour palette, a more rigorous typographic structure and a bolder imagery style. 

 

We developed an ‘open’ and ‘closed’ grid formation to create more distinctive and dynamic designs which can flex to context, whilst giving collection and contextual imagery the space to ‘lead’ communications materials when required. 

 

The National Archives’ core pastel colour palette was designed to echo the subtle off-white colourings of archive slips and papers from the collection. We built on this to add a rich secondary palette of mid and dark colours to create six tonal groups. This means the palette can now work more effectively for different demographics, but also that monotone collection imagery can come to life with tints of brand colours when appropriate. 

 

The principles for the existing brand typefaces now have accessibility at their heart with a more defined hierarchy to aid legibility and clear guidance for colour usage which will lead to more inclusive communications materials. 

Project
Branding and design
 
Client
The National Archives
 
Designer
Julia Woollams

Agency
31% Wool

Sector/s
Culture
Government
Education