Pentagram’s rebrand of Frieze brings the multifaceted company together with a bespoke type family
Accompanying its 30th anniversary, Frieze has undergone a brand overhaul courtesy of Pentagram partners Jody Hudson-Powell and Luke Powell, which sees a cohesion of the company’s many arms – from its three separate publications to its four global events. Previously all having different typefaces despite being under the same overarching company, Pentagram have worked alongside Berlin-based typographic services studio NaN in developing a custom typeface with four eights and over 450 glyphs.
This comprehensiveness is necessary, applying variations of the typeface across each element of the brand to provide it with the union it requires. “The Frieze mother brand and each subbrand follow the same typographic rules specified in our brand guidelines,” Jody Hudson-Powell and Luke Powell explain, whether that be the use of all caps for Frieze Medium, or all lowercase for Frieze Magazine. “To create a hierarchy,” they explain, “the Regular and Light weights are used on secondary headlines depending on their importance, whilst in some applications, the primary headline text utilises the Light weight to add an editorial sophistication and a distinctive contrast to the wordmark.” This hierarchy is evident across the typeface, from the use of the Medium weight when brands are produced on a smaller scale, to the Bold weight being implemented on large scale projects.
The crafted breadth of the typeface highlights Pentagram and NaN’s command of the typographic discipline; creating a typeface that is rigorously comprehensive and reliable, as well as bolstering the existing soul of Frieze. Through the technical typographic references that the new typeface inhabits, from its slab serifs to its soft curved brackets, the identity continues to exist in the cultivated environment of its predecessor. “Due to the nature of Frieze’s content though,” Hudson-Powell and Powell recall having been given free reign to explore dramatic changes to the brand, “we brought it back to this refined place where Frieze could have impact but not overpower the artwork it showcases on its platforms.”