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British Library

Refreshed creative system for the UK’s national library

In collaboration with Creative Consultant Rob Howsam we worked with the marketing and brand team at the Library to re-establish a more effective system within their existing visual identity. 

The current identity was created in 2012, and naturally over the last decade the Library’s needs have evolved. Therefore the visual toolkit needed a re-focus to help unify their activities, as well as reflecting their strategic direction about ‘Living Knowledge’. 

We examined the Library’s varied activities and audiences and defined a set of key principles using their wordmark, imagery, colour and typography to create recognisable and memorable communications. 

There are two distinct ways of using the wordmark going forward. 

Their centred wordmark is for when the Library is the lead voice on a communication. To project a sense of ‘the collection coming to life’ the way the centred wordmark is rendered is highly flexible. With shape and position staying constant, the colour and texture becomes dynamic, from using colours taken from imagery, or becoming a ‘window’ to reveal textures within, to interacting with imagery on different planes creating a sense of depth and movement. 

We then introduced a new size and position for the wordmark, in the corner, for when the subject matter becomes the lead voice. This enables much greater flexibility for content in event communications.  

We also developed the colour palette to reflect the Library’s collection and buildings, created new techniques to add expression to the lead brand typeface, and opened up their image guidelines to become more emotive, vibrant and engaging.

British Library
Julia Woollams
Kate Bates
Creative Consultant
Rob Howsam
31% Wool 
Rob Howsam Associates
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Stephen Cheetham
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John Devolle
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