Pentagram has designed the visual identity, signage and materials for the inaugural London Design Biennale. Led by Sir John Sorrell, Ben Evans and Christopher Turner, it is a sister event to the London Design Festival and is the world’s first purely design biennale.
Unlike the London Design Festival, which takes place in many venues throughout London, the London Design Biennale operates from one site—Somerset House. In honour of the 500th Anniversary of Sir Thomas More’s political philosophy classic Utopia, the theme for the event is Utopia by Design. Each of the entries—that come from 37 countries in four continents—will interrogate the history of the utopian idea and engage with some of the fundamental issues faced by humanity, suggesting solutions to them that use design and engineering. The installations will be viewable by the public and will be judged by The London Design Biennale International Advisory Committee and Jury, composed of leading creative design experts worldwide, including Pentagram’s own Paula Scher.
The approach to the identity was informed by Pentagram’s decade-long relationship with the London Design Festival, for whom it designs a new identity every year. Both events aim to widen public awareness of the importance and universal relevance of design in contemporary life and culture, and require clear, bold and recognisable identities which appeal to designers and non-designers alike.
The London Design Biennale’s identity is a bookend for its content. The expanding and contracting logo is a device for entries to sit within, acting as a portal for the installations to take centre stage. The classic colour combination of orange and black is used to make the event and its material highly visible.