The RIBA award-winning architectural firm, now the subject of an exciting exhibition at London’s Design Museum, is celebrated for creating subtle and sophisticated landmark buildings using its acute sensitivity for materials, throughout its global network of architectural practices. Communications design agency John Morgan Studio worked with the offices to create a new brand identity, which encapsulated the ethos and passion of David Chipperfield Architects’ work.
The clean, self-evident, unpretentious style created by the John Morgan Studio is ideal for many of the company’s electronic communications, though as the number of letters issued by the offices declines, it is essential to ensure its printed stationery, from business cards to presentation folders, make the right impact.
The simple typeface, monochrome style and absence of imagery, while suitable for David Chipperfield Architects’ multicultural network and subtle stance to branding, presented a unique challenge to the designers. They turned to a very traditional method of printing to create the authenticity and respect for materials that they hoped to convey with the brand identity.
Interpreting the use of traditional printing methods in a very contemporary way, John Morgan Studio worked closely with the skilled artisans at Baddeley Brothers to create exactly the right look and feel, ensuring the printed page had a self-evident synergy with the work of David Chipperfield Architects. From selecting the right shade of white and the correct warmth of black, the printers and designers were keen to celebrate the quality of the traditional process, making the materials, inks and processes, individually significant.
Rik Nys, Head of Communications for David Chipperfield Architects commented: “Architects tend to choose bold colours and brash logos, but we were very keen to choose a subtle design that conveyed integrity. We were closely involved in the detail of the branding, with representatives from our Shanghai, Milan, Berlin and London offices at every meeting. The choice of using the beautiful embossed die stamping technique has been received extremely well, fulfilling expectations and meeting practical requirements. Our new stationery is close to being simply standard, but for those who choose to recognise the detail, it really stands out.”
John Morgan Studio Director John Morgan said: “Baddeley Brothers is quite simply the best at what it does. We have created David Chipperfield’s brand identity across a myriad of electronic formats, but the physical nature of stationery gave us the chance to make the process of production integral to the design, just as it is in the firm’s architecture. With fewer letters being sent, each one has to be more significant, more special, and embracing the imperfections of a traditional process is a key part of this. It’s ‘the salt in the soup’.”
The team at John Morgan actively participated in the printing process, enabling both companies to share visions and build a strong relationship. Die stamping was seen as a way to keep the design bare and beautiful, yet tactile. “It’s a very modern take, but one which demonstrates the continuity of tradition over time, connecting the artists of the past with the architects’ customers of the future,” added Baddeley Brothers’ Director Chris Pertwee.
“We’re always keen to work with designers who see the potential of these techniques in a contemporary creative industry. John Morgan Studio was determined to work with a specialist that could provide not only the unique skills necessary, but also the understanding, passion and respect for the trade, which would come across in the finished work. We have now supplied stationery to David Chipperfield Architects’ offices across the world and have been delighted with the response.”