Case Study: FaulknerBrowns identity
Architects FaulknerBrowns have a new identity system courtesy of London-based design studio, A2/SW/HK. A2’s Scott Williams and Henrik Kubel worked on the project for two years and their holistic approach represents a major image change for the architecture firm founded in 1962, that concludes with the total redesign of the company’s Newcastle HQ.
“We were asked to change everything except for the name,” explains Kubel of the project that began with the designers interviewing FaulknerBrowns’ staff and gaining direct experience of the firm’s working environment before putting pencil to paper. “Often there aren’t that many people involved in commissioned work but it’s different with an identity: you have to have the people in the company on board and understand their environment.”
Based on their initial research, A2 found that the main problem the firm had was its abundance of typefaces, tools and colourways that clouded any sense of a single corporate identity.
“What came out of those meetings was that they just had too many things, like a typeface with 15 different weights or no limits on colours,” says Kubel. “We wanted to see how we could, in a sense, give them less to use but maximise their creative choices. So we designed a black and white typeface and created a very controlled but dynamic logo.”
The new logo is based on the outline of the company name as written in A2’s new FaulknerBrowns typeface (stage 1, above), for which there are just three weights, optimised for screen use. In a reference to architectural theory and the concept of ‘negative space’, A2 stripped the company name back even further until only the counterforms remained (from the letters A, R, B, R, O, A, and R, see stages 2&3) as isolated abstract shapes.
“It all came back to the name and just seeing how much we could take away,” says Kubel. “We were left with the outline – take that away you have the counterforms.” For the final logo (4), the company name was placed between the two groups of shapes. From this, A2 created a series of interchanging patterns that were then implemented across all media: from letterheads, business cards and sketchbooks, to document templates, screensavers and even signage for the firm’s offices.
A new website – www.faulknerbrowns.co.uk – designed in line with the new identity system will also launch soon.
A2/SW/HK's work for FaulknerBrowns is featured in our February issue, out now
no seriously, its a really adaptable system that will allow solutions for any problem thrown at it. its easy to read, instantly understandable, it wont date or look tired in about 4 days time and it's not at all annoying or repetitive or in any way too 'graphic design'.
As with all of A2’s work it seems to be very well produced and finished. Nevertheless, there is nothing new or inspiring about the project. It’s been done before and no doubt will be done again. It’s not a patch on the UNIQLO identity system/article posted here a few days ago.
This is incredibly similar to The Brand Union identity launched last year- http://www.thebrandunion.com
Odd that it slipped through the research net.
brilliant, can't compare it to brand union, this one actually works.
Don't get the link between the logo and 'architecture'. And wow, did this take a year for A2? Well..
@Ryan, the Brand Union logo is actually a complete copy of a sweater made by Jack & Jones. The only difference is the sweater says DENIM DREAM, but the typography is 100% identical.
Nice as a part of corporate identity but from my perspective it's a bit to wide.
Regards from Belgrade
Yet another company from North East England which feels it needs to go to London for design.
I hope anyone commissioning architecture will be as narrow minded as FaulknerBrowns, after all could a company from the North East produce something cutting edge?
Very pretentious bullshit!
Two years work? Haha
FaulknerBrowns are a world class organisation. Which Newcastle based design group can claim to have been featured recently, -not once, but twice in the same edition of Creative Review?
Having said that, -when will A2 learn there is more to typographic design than rounding the corners off fonts...?!
When Faulkner Browns have a successful studio in London why can't they have a design produced from a London company?
I understand the new website was commissioned in the North... are Southerners going to be upset at that? I doubt they'd bother to spend the time.
As a company, I know that they do use local services where possible (to their London or Newcastle studios) and they keep it in the UK... which is more than can be said for some companies.
Back to the heart of things... the logo works for them I feel, simple but not boring.Good for them. And I hear the refurb in Newcastle is very successful.
"FaulknerBrowns are a world class organisation"...so is Al Qaida and the Nazi party. You should qualify your statements a bit more Kevin. [comment deleted by moderator] Apart from their clear inferiority complex from being stuck in a washed out 60's Industrial estate in not so sunny Killingworth (now there's a name of a town to conjure with), the desire for a London image will always be with them, hence the logo. May God bless you all!
An absolute joke! Is this guy friends with the muppet that came up with the 2012 london olympics logo?
This scheme, or whatever A2 would like it to be known as, is borderline offensive in it's boring concept through to it's pretentious finish. It tries far too hard to be original and fails by producing something akin to a primary school child colouring in all the holes in the letters... But wait, it's not as simple as that, the child has left all his colour pencils and pens at home and is forced to use a chued black biro, the shaded in part of the letters have been rearranged into a seemingly random and meaningless order. Now you'll have to forgive my lack of perception and understanding of high-end cutting edge art... but am I right in saying the shapes that remain as the main logo are nothing more than black semi-circles and triangles, it's just another annoying example of 'art' and trying to be more individual than required or plausable.
I'm sure there is a lot of people reading this who total disagree with me, if that is you then put down your mocha and rearrange that tartan neckacheif because this is really going to get your copy of Art Weekly moist... My concept.... Imagine a black outline of a solitary square at a 23* angle on a white background with the word 'square' written in block letters in the corner of the square... That took me less than 30 seconds, infact I made it up as I was typing... What the hell were A2 doing for 2 years!?!?!?!
Nothing new in using the counters or stripping away everything to the bare minimum, but then what is? The shapes add pace, the high production values help and the simplicity of black & white really appeals.
Overall, I'd have to say, visually interesting, execution relevant to architecture, but leaves me a little cold.
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