Faber & Faber’s new word marque

Faber has released a new word marque in a custom, art deco inspired typeface as part of a rebrand led by art director Donna Payne.

Faber has released a new word marque in a custom, art deco inspired typeface as part of a rebrand led by art director Donna Payne.

The new marque features an ampersand instead of an ‘and’ between each Faber and will replace the previous italicised marque (below) on the publisher’s website, publishing and visual communications. It will be used alongside the ff colophon logo created by Pentagram 30 years ago, which is not being replaced.

“The italic rendering of our name rarely appeared without the colophon and didn’t really assert itself as a marque in its own right. Our growing online presence and increase in partnerships meant we needed a marque that literally spells out who we are without relying on the colophon for identification,” Payne told CR.


The typeface references ‘modern deco’ fonts created around the time of Faber’s inception in the late 1920s. “As a starting point, I looked at several fonts that were part of Faber’s design history. Berthold Wolpe’s Albertus is one we still turn to on a regular basis and a huge part of our visual history but would not have fulfilled the brief. My attention turned instead to fonts of the early thirties – modernist geometric ones such as futura, open and with strong clean lines seemed to work – and in the end, we based our marque on a combination of Brandon Grotesque and Swiss, gently rounded to complement the soft curves of the colophon,” explains Payne.

The new marque and updated identity was launched to coincide with the release of the publisher’s Spring 2014 catalogue. A new colour palette inspired by book jackets from the Faber archives – including the late Seamus Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar – has also been introduced.

“The inspiration for the colour palette happened during some general research in the Faber archive here in Bloomsbury. In common with most book designers I have a soft spot for the look and feel of old books. Many of our archive covers, particularly those designed in the fifties and sixties using bright acid shades, have aged down beautifully,” says Payne.

It’s the first bespoke typeface Payne has created for Faber – keeping the design in-house “happened organically,” she says. “I was heavily involved in writing the brief and very clear about what we needed – researching fonts that complemented the colophon and doodling ampersands was a natural next step. As a book designer, I thrive on the fast pace and quick turnover of cover design, so it was an enjoyable challenge to attempt something as painstaking and detailed as a brand refresh.”

It’s a lovely colour palette and one that works well in the new catalogue (above). The new marque is sleeker and stronger than its predecessor and like the updated colour scheme, it has a modern feel that references the brand’s heritage – “which is exactly what we were after,” says Payne.

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