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