The Brand Identity

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Sthuthi Ramesh rebrands Jhaveri Contemporary with the utmost consideration for context and detail

After a decade of use, Mumbai-based contemporary gallery Jhaveri Contemporary decided it was time for a fresh face; turning to London-based designer Sthuthi Ramesh for a new identity. Expertly achieving Jhaveri Contemporary’s artistic vision, the result of over a year’s work is a delicately crafted identity system that is both striking and supportive – something Ramesh accomplished through an intimate understanding of Jhaveri Contemporary’s role and the utmost consideration for typographic detail.

“The brief was to create a brand that encapsulates young modern India,” explains Ramesh, “and nuances of the midcentury/post-independence design aesthetics.” Intelligently utilising Karel Martens’ and Jungmyung Lee’s Pirelli typeface as the wordmark, Ramesh prospered in the typeface’s innate charm and imperfection to give character to the gallery itself. As a result, Pirelli and Ramesh’s application leads the audience to see Jhaveri Contemporary as the gallery it is – “confident, smart and simple,” as well as capturing the amiable “nuances from the gallery’s interiors,” Ramesh remarks. The purposeful spacing of the wordmark is also indicative of the brand’s supportive intentions; in itself allowing space to highlight the work it advocates, whilst simultaneously creating a system for infinite flexibility to adapt to application and layout.

Hoping to craft a custom typeface, however finding herself limited by time and budgeting constraints, Ramesh recalls her obsession with the hand-rendered typography of Indian designer Prof Sudhakar Nadkarni found on a milk kiosk that led her down this specific typographic path. “Further research led to more post-independence typefaces in India,” she adds, “most of the typefaces were modern sans serif but had these irregular hand-drawn features to all of them.” In finding her saving grace amongst the “nice irregularities, yet monoline structure” of Pirelli, Ramesh explains the typeface’s timelessness is achieved through “the distinctive motif of unusual high-waisted capitals, with touches of wabi-sabi.” 

Supporting Pirelli and embolstering the identity as a whole is the use of MT Plantin Pro as their secondary, beautifully contrary typeface – a progression from the previous identity’s use of Plantin infant – as is their captivating, dusty colour palette. Firmly rooted in the gallery space itself, Ramesh explains the “blue echoes the galleries rafters,” whilst the red showcases the red-oxide floors of the space, with the earthy tones “reflecting the raw walls and reclaimed teak windows.” The result of which when applied is an intimate and arresting use of colour, made all the more special through its contextual, architectural and spatial underpinnings. 

Completed during India’s COVID-19 lockdown, the project is the result of perseverance and hard-work – Ramesh herself being unable to return to her London studio for two months. Being created in the time it was, the online presence of the gallery was of great importance. “The client soon realised they needed a virtual viewing room to feature online exhibitions now that everybody was going online,” Ramesh explains, due to the future’s total uncertainty. “It was immediately apparent that the viewing room feature was highly valued by all art galleries across the globe given the current situation,” Ramesh adds, finding the prospect a captivating challenge as a designer.

Typefaces: Pirelli by Jung-Lee Type Foundry / MT Plantin Pro by Monotype
Production: Nicety Materials
Paper: G . F Smith Colorplan
UI / UX: Sebastian Grenzhauser
Web development: Arnas Žiedavičius
Motion: Sayeed Islam

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