A new identity

Harry Pearce fuses history and modernity in creating a confident new identity for one of Britain's oldest institutions.

From the Series

Being sensitive to the past, bringing authority to the present and creating a foundation for a confident future, Harry Pearce has created a new identity for the Royal Academy of the Arts in London.

The Royal Academy of the Arts is one of Britain’s oldest institutions, which supports and promotes visual arts through exhibitions, education and discussion.

In celebration of the 244-year-old institution, Harry Peace of Pentagram, together with Jane Wentworth and Will Dallimore, set out to design and create a new identity that appropriates the institution’s rich history while expressing it in a modern form.

Designing a system whereby the Royal Academy of the Arts becomes the confident and sensitive author of all its visual material, Pearce placed special emphasis on the core typefaces into which the institution’s identity is embedded. Opting for a typographical RA symbol inspired by type forms from some of the Royal Academy’s early posters, Pearce fuses history and modernity through using neon symbols.

To breathe visual life back into this wonderful institution has been a great privilege, says Pearce. 

The symbols are adaptable through their chameleon-like nature to ensure that are always relevant to the story being told at an exhibition, class or discussion. 

Watch the Talk with Harry Pearce