The first rebrand in 10 years for the House of Commons is driven by the organisation’s long term goal to ‘support a thriving parliamentary democracy’ and comes at a time when there is an amplified need to communicate the work of the House in a clear, accessible way.
The current House of Commons visual identity was produced in 2009 (2 years after the 1st iPhone) and focused predominantly on traditional printed publications and stationery. They did not address many other touchpoints, procedural documents, signage, commercial or importantly, digital applications (social media, apps or external sites) — the design system has not been reconsidered for over a decade and had become inefficient.
An extensive range of House of Commons sub-identities had evolved over time and management of the visual identity as a whole had become complex and challenging.
A rigorous audit conducted by SomeOne of the current visual identity in use across the House of Commons highlighted particular challenges and opportunities for the new design systems.
The new connected identity system will help the House to communicate far more effectively on digital platforms.
A newly crafted, digitally focused trio of portcullis designs, now work at very small, small, and large sizes. The new typeface, National, works to support and develop an adaptable wordmark system for House of Commons, designed to work across application types and at all sizes for better reproduction on screens, surfaces and at scale.
A new House of Commons colour system has also been deployed — The famous core Green has been developed to improve the contrast of elements and legibility of type in all formats.
We looked to deploy an identity designed to work seamlessly across digital and print, while also supporting House teams in their work through the delivery of robust design systems, including lock-up structures, and communication materials. Enabling them to concentrate on the content, now matters of design are taken care of.
The operating system we’ve developed for the House of Commons remains respectful of the past while welcoming current and future demands. Surrounding the central design elements are new aspects created to build greater engagement with the public and help them to stay in touch with the parliamentary landscape.
More traditional views of branding would have us believe we only need to rubberstamp a logo on things. The House of Commons has embraced a far more progressive approach in the development of a full suite of assets and behaviors. This has made it a more complex project, but a better and more long-lasting outcome.