Chermayeff’s Rupert Ray identity

Ivan Chermayeff of Chermayeff & Geismar has created the graphic identity of Rupert Ray, the new creative agency founded by Alex Maclean and Caroline Matthews, who were the former creative director and managing director respectively of Airside which closed earlier this year…

Ivan Chermayeff of Chermayeff & Geismar has created the graphic identity of Rupert Ray, the new creative agency founded by Alex Maclean and Caroline Matthews, both former creative director and managing director respectively of Airside which closed earlier this year…

The duo’s new agency is named after Rupert Ray, an ancestor of both Maclean and Matthews who grew up in late Victorian and Edwardian England and then experienced both world wars and became an artist. However, when starting up their new company, the pair chose not to design their own identity, but to commission it from another design company in order to fully understand ” the need for clarity of communication and collaboration from the other side of the table,” says Maclean. “We wanted to put ourselves in the client’s shoes and learn some lessons.”

“The Rupert Ray symbol [shown above] was developed to be an arresting and active mark of identity, of a new enterprise for the future, more than the image of a character from the past,” says Chermayeff of the logo, which splits the studio’s name into three elements RUP / ERT / RAY and sets them in a customised version of Vitesse at a 45 degree angle.

Chermayeff has also chosen Fuller Benton’s 1908 sans serif face News Gothic as the principle typeface for Rupert Ray with News Gothic Bold used for headlines and titling.

So what was it like, we wondered, for a design company to commission its logo from another design company?

“In working with Chermayeff and Geismar we really had no idea what to expect,” Maclean tells us. “When we saw the proposals we were delighted but slightly surprised at the way we were perceived. There must have been a subconscious expectation of the way we were perceived, or what we might see even though we did not visualise it in our mind’s eye. After falling in love with one of the routes proposed we started to rethink, we tried to seriously critique our initial enthusiasm. We tried to change the colourway only to realise that we were compromising the strength of the idea.

“We kept an open mind and were persuaded by the designer. We came to realise we had our perfect solution, not by accident but by design, not just the graphic design but the design of the relationship and the process. As a designer I have learnt a lot about process and how to do it next time.”

As well as the new logo, Maclean and Matthews have invited a host of image makers to respond to the question “who is Rupert Ray” and will exhibit the resulting images in an exhibition in London soon.

“We are always being asked ‘who is Rupert Ray?’ so we thought we would turn that question into a launch event and ask our most admired artists, designers and illustrators to do an imaginary portrait of Rupert, and exhibit them at a launch exhibition,” says Maclean. For more information, visit whoisrupertray.com

rupertray.com

 

 

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