Pentagram Designs a New Identity for Thames & Hudson

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With the help of Pentagram, the publisher Thames & Hudson—titan of the world of books on the creative arts—has a new look.

Walter and Eva Neurath founded the company in 1949 to create a veritable “museum without walls” with an international focus—and so they named their enterprise after the rivers that run through London and New York. They carried this concept to their logo, with its signature dolphins, representative of the connection between old world and new.

“This new identity is part modernization and part restoration of the brand,” says Pentagram partner Harry Pearce, whose team worked on the mark. “The original inspiration for the Thames & Hudson visual identity was two dolphins swimming east to west, respectively, and the initial letters of the two rivers referenced in the name. We recreated the cartouche to allow these elements to appear together in a single mark once more. The new modernist sans wordmark has a suggestion of the artisanal nature of bookmaking through the subtle detailing of its letterforms.”

The publisher has long been known for its “World of Art” series, launched in 1958 and containing more than 300 books (perhaps most notably Michael Levey’s A Concise History of Painting). Plans to relaunch the line (set to debut in April, with design by the Dutch studio Kummer & Herrman) led Thames & Hudson to reexamine the existing mark. The new identity will appear on all releases moving forward, in addition to sales and marketing materials, starting with the catalogs below, which were also designed by Pentagram.

The old mark

The new

The cartouche

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