Liberty Letters typographic prints

Design studio Pentagram has created a new series of prints based on the 2020 Liberty rebrand, to be added to the luxury store’s archive of patterns

The Liberty Print Archive is a treasure trove of over 30,000 patterns. To add a more graphic series of prints to the collection, Pentagram was commissioned by Liberty to create a series of typographic patterns to be applied to various products.

Under the direction of Liberty fabrics design director Mary-Ann Dunkley, the brief was to “play without a strategic outcome in mind” and embody a spirit of “unapologetic eccentricity” found within the heart of the Liberty brand manifesto.

So the process began, with the team – made up of partner Harry Pearce, Johannes Grimmond and Tiffany Fenner – creating dozens of experimental typographic patterns inspired by the bespoke Lasenby Sans font and logotype, designed as part of the Liberty rebrand in 2020, which was also created by Pentagram.

The logotype was adapted from the lettering in the original sign above the mock-Tudor storefront on Great Marlborough Street. These letterforms were adapted into a custom display typeface named after Liberty’s founder, Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty, and in collaboration with Colophon type foundry.

“From this alphabet we’ve been able to create a wonderful tapestry of designs that are almost like abstract art that have become a [form of] self-expression the brand can use,” said Harry Pearce in a film about the project.

After the experimental phase, the patterns, described as a “bold collision of colour and form”, were developed by the Liberty fabric design team, which saw them incorporate “words evocative of Liberty” before the designs were rescaled, recoloured and reimagined to build a new type of textile print for the brand.

“What’s so pleasing about this endeavour is the ability of the brand to create authentic products directly from its core identity,” Pearce said. “The Lasenby Sans font adapts, allowing multiple interpretations of abstract typographic patterns into infinite numbers of fabrics. Liberty has always been as much a maker as a retailer, and hopefully this project is the epitome of that spirit.”

So far there are ten contemporary fabric designs which see the Liberty alphabet “dance in an explosion” of geometric patterns, as letters appear to shrink and grow across the fabric in multicolour and monochrome, and in vertical and horizontal, distorted and stretched optical illusions. The collection launched with a scarf created for Pride. There are currently 21 products in the collection, including bags, scarves and fabrics, with the idea that the series will grow over the years.

James Kape, founder and co-creative director of Omse and a judge for the Annual Awards, explains why the project was picked as a winner:

Category: Typography
Design Studio: Pentagram
Partner/Creative Director: Harry Pearce
Designer: Johannes Grimmond
Project Manager: Tiffany Fenner
Brand: Liberty
Managing Director: Andrea Petochi
Design Director: Mary-Ann Dunkley
Senior Designer: Alexandra Lovatt
Designer: Esther Johnson