Pentagram Gives Jane Austen’s House a “modern” Rebrand
Domenic Lippa has created a new visual identity for the beloved novelist’s Hampshire house, which aims to avoid “cliched” iconography. By Henry Wong April 14, 2020 5:13 pm April 15, 2020 9:01 am Pentagram partner and graphic designer Domenic Lippa has created a new identity for Jane Austen’s House Museum. The Hampshire-based house is where the novelist spent the final eight years of her life, and where she wrote some of her best-loved novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion. The house was owned by Austen’s brother, Edward, who was named heir to the wealthy Knight family and inherited the Chawton Estate. The identity is “rooted in Austen’s history and the fabric of the house itself,” according to Pentagram. It comes at a time of transition for the museum, which has a new Collections and Interpretation Manager, Sophie Reynolds. Pentagram hopes that the identity better reflects the museum’s “character”. The Grade I-listed building, and its gardens, attracts tens of thousands visitors every year, where fans can see Austen’s letters as well as objects related to her cultural legacy. A “streamlined” name The museum is not a museum in a traditional sense, and to represent this distinction, Pentagram “streamlined” the name to Jane Austen’s House. The research period involved looking at Austen’s belongings, including “first editions of her books, furniture, textiles and the desk at which she wrote”. The letter that inspired the new wordmark A new wordmark is inspired by Austen’s own handwriting. A monogram which combines J and A finds its origins in a letter by the author to her niece Anna in 1815. The “elegant” and “stylised” monogram gives the identity a “modern, but decorative” feel. A stamp has also been created, which is based on Austen’s twelve-sided writing desk. This shape is currently being used on the website as an alert about the museum’s closure during the coronavirus pandemic. The identity rolls across print and online, from signage at the museum to social media platforms. A “modern” re-telling of Austen Two typefaces have been chosen for the new identity. Caslons Egyptian Regular is used for headlines while Caslon Doric is used for body copy. The former is an updated version of Two Lines English Egyptian, which was the “first commercially available sans-serif typeface” according to Pentagram. Caslon Doric is a “modern take” on the Caslon typeface – created by 18th century designer, William Caslon. Another interior-inspired design detail is the colour palette, which has been taken from wallpaper samples found in the house. An orange, blue and green – which Pentagram calls “surprisingly modern” – appears on merchandise such as tote bags, as well as lanyards for staff. Tote bags also feature some of Austen’s most-loved quotations. » Read More
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