Only call upon BIRI’s heritage in their poised identity for the British research institution
The British International Research Institute, now known as BIRI, have worked alongside Manchester-based design studio Only to craft an identity equal to their iconic reputation and stature. Calling upon the heritage, prestige and interconnectedness held as core values to BIRI, Only created a powerful wordmark that reinforces the architectural influence of the area’s buildings through its Doric order-inspired forms. The history and ancient Greek stimulus of which are counterbalanced through the addition of a contemporary serif; with the studio opting for Displaay’s Tobias as the leading typeface.
“Across applications, Tobias lends a bold and confident voice to headlines,” Co-founder and Creative Director Matthew Tweddle tells us, “the modern serif typeface originates from Baroque roots and lends a transitional appearance,” he adds, providing Tobias with a pragmatic partner in the form of Neue Haas Grotesk. “The typeface was chosen for its modernity and legibility,” Tweddle explains, “as well as its wide character set for use in multiple languages,” imbuing neutrality and practicality amongst the eccentricity and transdisciplinary nature of BIRI’s studies.
Stabilising the contrast between the two typefaces is Only’s choice of colour palette, a key factor of the identity that Tweddle notes as a “particular challenge” to the project. “The Institutes are embedded in diverse regions around the world,” he recalls, “where colours can be seen and interpreted differently,” noting the importance of not creating a brand or palette that imposed a “British aesthetic.” In an effort to reflect BIRI’s commitment to principles of knowledge and cultural exchange, Tweddle explains how “colour became a way to further embed BIRI in their regions,” flexing in accord to specific region needs, whilst “working to highlight and promote the full range of disciplines supported by the institutes.”