This new identity work mixes Tracey Emin neon with classic type

The new look for the Royal Academy's Keeper's House mixes classic inspiration with a vivid new piece of work by Tracey Emin.

Following on from its work last year designing a new identity for the Royal Academy, this year Pentagram has turned its attention on another corner of the 245-year-old institution.

The Keeper's House, found in the corner of the RA's Annenberg Courtyard, has recently undergone a full restoration that retains many of its original details, dating back to the 1660s. The Mayfair townhouse now features a new restaurant, bar, lounge and secret garden and, to go with it, Pentagram's Harry Pearce has created a new identity for the restored building.

Photo credit: Tim Mitchell, Arcaid Images

The most eye-catching feature is, of course, the brand new neon sculpture above the front door, created by Tracey Emin. However that's just a part of a project designed to give the Keeper's House its own distinct identity that nevertheless maintains a link with the larger Royal Academy branding.

For the new logotype, Pearce and his team used Caslon, one of the main fonts from their RA identity work last year, and redrew it to create a more elegant typographic expression, accentuating the inner curves and serifs. The logotype is always placed vertically in the upper right hand corner whenever it's used, reflecting the Keeper's House's position in the upper right hand corner of the Annenberg Courtyard.

The use of Caslon – along with Akzidenz Grotesk – extends to the Keeper's House printed material and wayfinding throughout the complex 17th Century building, and the whole new look serves to reflect the building's idiosyncratic layout. Says the RA's Will Dallimore, “Harry’s identity has given us just what we were looking for. It’s got a quirky, domestic twist – reflecting the building’s history and the Keeper’s House vision to be a home for artists and art lovers – but vitally, it has great affinity with the main RA brand.”

Photo credit: Richard Bryant, Arcaid Images

Words: Jim McCauley

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