The Office of Gilbert Li’s identity system for Patel Brown Gallery is both poetic and practical
“It was important that the typography aligns with Patel Brown’s positioning of being an art gallery that is approachable and inclusive,” Founder & Creative Director Gilbert Li tells us, laying the groundwork for Toronto-based creative studio The Office of Gilbert Li’s identity for Patel Brown Gallery. “Therefore we avoided leaning heavily on the aesthetic of austere sans serif typefaces,” Li explains, steering clear of the type treatments typical of contemporary gallery brands and instead opting for warmer workhorse alternatives.
“We decided on Diatype to be the main voice of the brand,” he details, utilising the sans serif from Dinamo extensively across the wordmark and body copy. “The grotesque’s sharp features work well with the geometric forms of the accompanying monogram,” Li raises, utilising its extensive family of weights, widths and styles in support of the bespoke logo, compromising of Patel Brown’s abstracted initials.
“To complement this we chose GT Alpina for its wonderful round features,” he continues, opting for Grilli Type’s serif due to its friendly tone and charm. “This strong contrast with the sharpness of Diatype provides a lot of character when used more sparingly,” Li notes. The two typefaces establish a lively yet harmoniously rich typographic palette,” allowing the brand to mirror the gallery’s reputation for championing forward-thinking, exciting new artists.
“As with the typography,” Li expands, “we wanted the use of colour across Patel Brown’s identity to stand apart from what’s common with other art galleries,” notably opposing the expected adversity to any colour at all with no predefined colour palette. “Each piece of collateral is meant to use a different colour,” he explains, “sometimes there’s a direct reference to a colour used in an artwork, but many times it’s simply a subjective choice,” again embodying the gallery’s eclectic reputation. “Instead of detracting from the art, the art is a direct source of inspiration for the maximal use of colour,” Li concludes, “as more materials are produced and as Patel Brown grows, their brand identity strengthens,” growing off the system’s strong, stoic and sympathetic foundations.