greenspace: zaha hadid architects brand identity greenspace: zaha hadid architects brand identity
sep 07, 2011

greenspace: zaha hadid architects brand identity

design and brand strategy specialists greenspace have developed a new identity, bespoke typeface and website for zaha hadid architects.

— designboom spoke to lee deverill, design director at greenspace to find out more —

DB: how long did greenspace work on the project for? LD: the original brief was sent to us in july 2009. we pitched against a number of high-profile agencies and our response focused in particular on process, collaboration and the potential of the brand – rather than any creative solutions. we then went through the interview process before starting the project proper in july 2010 – through to launch in july 2011.

based on the interviews with the zaha hadid studio, what became clear as the most important thing to communicate with the new identity? with such a large and complex studio there was clearly a diverse and contrasting range of opinions.

what was clear to us through both the interviews and the original brief was the need to; (a) highlight the vast number of projects that have been created and realised (b) highlight all the talented designers and architects within the practice (c) communicate ZHA as a company that is world-class, highly-professional and yet avant-garde in its approach.

clearly all that can’t be achieved through an identity alone and that’s why the website became our primary focus initially and the main vehicle for the ZHA story.

that said, creating a unique typeface that could be used by everyone on a day-to-day basis also felt like a nice inclusive way to bring the brand to life.

which aspect of the project proved most challenging? as a creative process it was truly collaborative and very positive.

the real challenge is hoping you create a piece of work that reflects the client’s own reputation and high standards.

regarding the branding, it can be hard sometimes when dealing with a client that has such a strong visual style to find your own path and reasons for doing so. we hope and believe we did that by creating a look that’s not a pastiche of the architecture and in fact allows it to be elevated and viewed without distraction.

finally, regarding the website, we set out to create something that has a unique user experience and sets itself apart from all sites – not just architectural ones. the level of content, movement, functionality and search capabilities are clearly complex and when combined with a beautiful bespoke CMS it obviously took a great deal of thought and an incredible development team to deliver.

we really hope people explore the archive both now and in the future as more and more content becomes available.

selection of the characters from the typeface designed by miles newlyn with greenspace

—- following text from the official press release:

collaborating closely with zaha’s senior partner, patrik schumacher, greenspace and designer miles newlyn have developed a brand identity that has a minimal feel. it is inspired by the contemporary material and construction choices employed by ZHA, visualised through the use of varying paper stocks, simple highlight colours and carefully chosen print techniques.

‘we deliberately didn’t want to create a brand identity that would be a pastiche of any of the ZHA created works. we wanted the work to speak for itself, not be over-powered by its brand‘ adrian caddy of greenspace

dynamic patterns ZHA use a wide range of computer program scripts combined with parametric theory when creating buildings and designs. greenspace took inspiration from these to create a set of patterns that can be used graphically across communication collateral and to which future patterns can be added as new structures, shapes and forms are developed.

bespoke and unique typeface as part of the brand revamp, greenspace and ZHA’s patrik schumacher worked closely to develop a bespoke typeface, called zaha hadid sans.

‘the typeface uses two unique features: there is the folded detail, in which joins that are usually truncated are divided by a slim gap to give the appearance of layering. the other feature is a carefully stressed curve that flows from vertical to near horizontal and back again.’ – miles newlyn

identity guidelines / overview

website the website acts as the ‘ultimate archive’ of everything ZHA has done – both built and conceptual – with a CSM system that allows the archive to grow indefinitely. greenspace has designed it to be a purely visual, never the same twice, mesmeric encounter with the ZHA world.

containing vast amounts of data, the site is an ‘inclusive’, user-friendly experience that pushes the boundaries of other more traditional architectural sites. it enables the

user to modify, personalise and dictate relevant content. built in HTML 5, avoiding the

constraints of flash for ease of loading to ipad for example, it captures and exposes

everything that is current and ZHA related, worldwide. and it’s been designed to

be practical, so both students and press can download images, information and

biographies about the work and people that make up the ZHA brand.

credits greenspace design team: paul blackburn lee deverill james taylor stephanie wilkinson adrian caddy miles newlyn (typeface)

zha project team: patrik schumacher lars teichmann bidisha sinha

photographic portraits: alex telfer

website production: scott david

  • Like the font, but think the stationery is a bit bland. The website is really nice, and is that bit different without being unusable.

    Sean says:
  • REally sleek. Well done.

    Pipi says:
  • Brandtecture…

    kami says:
  • Little conservative for such a non-conservative office..

    Bill Parks says:
  • the sheets and cards are rectangular!!!whats up with that?? so unoriginal and basic…zaha’s ego deserved more from graphic design.. Seriously i think this is good design unlike the architecture that this office produces.

    Q says:

  • the sheets and cards are rectangular!!!whats up with that?? so unoriginal and basic…zaha’s ego deserved more from graphic design.”

    versus

    “Seriously i think this is good design unlike the architecture that this office produces.”

    whats up with contradiction?

    rectangular formats for set standards in international business.

    adrian vincent says:
  • I am not big fan of Aaha’s work… but whoever did branding for Zaha disappointed me more. Such a waste of great opportunity.

    Disappointed says:
  • Some respect for the work done.
    I like it, i think i much more better than the previews.
    It can be done better, sure, so why any of you complainers didnt it ?

    ZH may be futuristic but she still use paper so a card remains a card.

    A says:
  • Got to love Zaha, the future is now

    decush says:
  • To invent the font Zaha Hadid is smart. When articles are done on the firm’s buildings, designers will be tempted to use it, which will further the brand. Good font too — distinctive, functional, and evocative of the work.

    Should have rounded the corners on everything, not just the cards. Hang the expense: It sends the right message (which is not necessarily hang the expense).

    Mort d'Urban says:
  • From our point of view the most important think was when Greenspace understood what the customer wanted. This was the key of this great design work.
    Congratulations from [url=http://www.letsdesignstudio.com] letsdesignstudio [/url]

    Noemi Let's Group says:
  • font selection is very nice as a graphic designer but rest of things is ok

    imran a khan says:
  • I think overall, really nice job! Interesting typeface, very clean simple design that will last although I am not so sure on the patterns.

    Great work.

    [url=http://www.karnatarka.com] Karnatarka Graphic & Web Design [/url]

    Alex says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

design news